posted on Feb, 23 2011 @ 10:04 AM
There are many misunderstandings regarding Tor. Tor has actually two different modes of operation and most things people commonly seem to know about
it are only about one of them:
1.) Tor is used for anonymization while using services on the internet. You can surf the "normal" internet through Tor and your traffic will be
routed in encrypted form through three different nodes of the Tor network until it will leave the Tor network at the so called "Exit Node" where it
is decrypted and sent on its way to its final destination like any other traffic the internet also.
The owner of this exit node can sniff all the traffic but cannot track any of it back to where it originated, unless of course you help him by signing
in to unencrypted websites and reveal personal information about you. This is the cause for most of the warnings you can read about Tor. You have to
understand this problem to be able to take precautions against it. If you know what you are doing (and what to avoid) and what Tor does and what it
does not then this anonymization function can be used to your advantage.
2.) Tor is used for the so called "hidden services". This mode does NOT involve any exit nodes, the warnings from above do not apply here! In this
mode you establish a connection that is mutually anonymous. Neither the user can determine the physical location or IP address of such a hidden
service nor can the hidden service determine the location or IP address of its users. The data packets travel back and forth between the two along a
path of six nodes, each side has setup its own half of this path from three random nodes, the paths were connected in the middle and none of the sides
knows where the other side's path originates from.
Additionally all hidden service traffic is automatically end-to-end encrypted by Tor, none of the six nodes between server and client can decrypt it
and none of the nodes knows enough to know where the path ends or begins, how long it is and which service (if any) the packets belong to. All they do
is relaying encrypted packages without knowing their purpose, their origin or their target.
hidden service are much like i2p, they enable you to establish a TCP connection between two Tor clients that is mutually anonymous.
Unlike some have suggested here these hidden services are not just somehow forgotten to be indexed by search engines, they are NOT reachable through
the internet at all, not even if you knew the IP address of the computer where such a service is hosted, they are only reachable through Tor through
such a 6 nodes tunnel and can only be addressed by their .onion name.