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Tor
Tor-logo-2011-flat.svg
Tor-9.png
The Tor Browser default homepage
Developer(s)The Tor Project
Initial release20 September 2002; 18 years ago (2002-09-20)[1]
Stable release(s) [±]
0.4.5.6 (15 February 2021; 14 days ago (2021-02-15)[2])

0.4.3.8 (3 February 2021; 26 days ago (2021-02-03)[2])

0.3.5.13 LTS (3 February 2021; 26 days ago (2021-02-03)[2])
Preview release(s) [±]
0.4.5.5-rc (1 February 2021; 28 days ago (2021-02-01)[3])
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC,[4] Python
Operating systemUnix-like (Android, Linux, BSD, macOS), Microsoft Windows
Size50–55 MB
TypeOverlay network, mix network, onion router, Anonymity application
LicenseBSD 3-clause license[5]
Website

Tor is free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communication by directing Internet traffic through a free, worldwide, volunteer overlay network consisting of more than seven thousand relays[6] in order to conceal a user's location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace the Internet activity to the user: this includes "visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages, and other communication forms".[7] Tor's intended use is to protect the personal privacy of its users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities unmonitored.

Onion routing is implemented by encryption in the application layer of a communication protocol stack, nested like the layers of an onion. Tor encrypts the data, including the next node destination IP address, multiple times and sends it through a virtual circuit comprising successive, random-selection Tor relays. Each relay decrypts a layer of encryption to reveal the next relay in the circuit to pass the remaining encrypted data on to it. The final relay decrypts the innermost layer of encryption and sends the original data to its destination without revealing or knowing the source IP address. Because the routing of the communication was partly concealed at every hop in the Tor circuit, this method eliminates any single point at which the communicating peers can be determined through network surveillance that relies upon knowing its source and destination.[8] An adversary may try to de-anonymize the user by some means. One way this may be achieved is by exploiting vulnerable software on the user's computer.[9] The NSA had a technique that targets a vulnerability – which they codenamed "EgotisticalGiraffe" – in an outdated Firefox browser version at one time bundled with the Tor package[10] and, in general, targets Tor users for close monitoring under its XKeyscore program.[11] Attacks against Tor are an active area of academic research[12][13] which is welcomed by the Tor Project itself.[14] The bulk of the funding for Tor's development has come from the federal government of the United States,[15] initially through the Office of Naval Research and DARPA.[16]

A cartogram illustrating Tor usage

The core principle of Tor, "onion routing", was developed in the mid-1990s by United States Naval Research Laboratory employees, mathematician Paul Syverson, and computer scientists Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag, with the purpose of protecting U.S. intelligence communications online. Onion routing was further developed by DARPA in 1997.[17][18][19][20][21][22] The alpha version of Tor, developed by Syverson and computer scientists Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson[15] and then called The Onion Routing project (which later simply became "Tor", as an acronym for the former name), launched on 20 September 2002.[1][23] The first public release occurred a year later.[24] In 2004, the Naval Research Laboratory released the code for Tor under a free license, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) began funding Dingledine and Mathewson to continue its development.[15] In 2006, Dingledine, Mathewson, and five others founded The Tor Project, a Massachusetts-based 501(c)(3) research-education nonprofit organization responsible for maintaining Tor.[25] The EFF acted as The Tor Project's fiscal sponsor in its early years, and early financial supporters of The Tor Project included the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Internews, Human Rights Watch, the University of Cambridge, Google, and Netherlands-based Stichting NLnet.[26][27][28][29][30] Prior to 2014, the majority of funding sources came from the U.S. government.[15]

In November 2014 there was speculation in the aftermath of Operation Onymous that a Tor weakness had been exploited.[31] A BBC News source cited a "technical breakthrough"[32] that allowed the tracking of the physical locations of servers. In November 2015 court documents on the matter,[33] besides generating serious concerns[weasel words] about security research ethics[34][non-primary source needed] and the right of not being unreasonably searched guaranteed by the US Fourth Amendment,[35][unreliable source?] may also link the law enforcement operation with an attack on Tor earlier in the year.[33]

In December 2015, The Tor Project announced that it had hired Shari Steele as its new executive director.[36] Steele had previously led the Electronic Frontier Foundation for 15 years, and in 2004 spearheaded EFF's decision to fund Tor's early development. One of her key stated aims is to make Tor more user-friendly in order to bring wider access to anonymous web browsing.[37] In July 2016 the complete board of the Tor Project resigned, and announced a new board, made up of Matt Blaze, Cindy Cohn, Gabriella Coleman, Linus Nordberg, Megan Price, and Bruce Schneier.[38][39]

  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference prealpha was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b c Mathewson, Nick (15 February 2021). "New stable Tor release: 0.4.5.6". tor-announce (Mailing list). Tor Project. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  3. ^ Mathewson, Nick (1 February 2021). "New release candidate: Tor 0.4.5.5-rc". Tor Project. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  4. ^ Cite error: The named reference openhub-tor was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ "LICENSE – Tor's source code". tor. Archived from the original on 5 November 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  6. ^ Cite error: The named reference torstatus was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ Cite error: The named reference nyt-navels was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ Termanini, Rocky (2017). The Nano Age of Digital Immunity Infrastructure Fundamentals and Applications: The Intelligent Cyber Shield for Smart Cities. CRC Press. pp. 210–211. ISBN 978-1-351-68287-9. LCCN 2017053798. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 20 January 2019.
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference guardian-nsa-target was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference guardian-peeling was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ J. Appelbaum, A. Gibson, J. Goetz, V. Kabisch, L. Kampf, L. Ryge (3 July 2014). "NSA targets the privacy-conscious". Panorama. Norddeutscher Rundfunk. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  12. ^ Goodin, Dan (22 July 2014). "Tor developers vow to fix bug that can uncloak users". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  13. ^ "Selected Papers in Anonymity". Free Haven. Archived from the original on 12 July 2018. Retrieved 26 October 2005.
  14. ^ "Tor Research Home". torproject.org. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  15. ^ a b c d Levine, Yasha (16 July 2014). "Almost everyone involved in developing Tor was (or is) funded by the US government". Pando Daily. Archived from the original on 11 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  16. ^ "Onion Routing: Our Sponsors". www.onion-router.net. Archived from the original on 5 July 2017. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  17. ^ Fagoyinbo, Joseph Babatunde (28 May 2013). The Armed Forces: Instrument of Peace, Strength, Development and Prosperity. AuthorHouse. ISBN 978-1-4772-2647-6. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  18. ^ Leigh, David; Harding, Luke (8 February 2011). WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy. PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-61039-062-0.
  19. ^ Ligh, Michael; Adair, Steven; Hartstein, Blake; Richard, Matthew (29 September 2010). Malware Analyst's Cookbook and DVD: Tools and Techniques for Fighting Malicious Code. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-00336-7. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  20. ^ Syverson, Paul F.; Reed, Michael G.; Goldschlag, David M. (30 May 1996). Hiding Routing information. Information Hiding. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. pp. 137–150. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.80.7783. doi:10.1007/3-540-61996-8_37. ISBN 9783540619963.
  21. ^ Syverson, P.F.; Goldschlag, D.M.; Reed, M.G. (1997). "Anonymous connections and onion routing". Proceedings. 1997 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Cat. No.97CB36097). pp. 44–54. doi:10.1109/SECPRI.1997.601314. ISBN 0-8186-7828-3.
  22. ^ Reed, M.G.; Syverson, P.F.; Goldschlag, D.M. (1998). "Anonymous connections and onion routing". IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications. 16 (4): 482–494. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.728.3577. doi:10.1109/49.668972.
  23. ^ Cite error: The named reference torproject-faq was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  24. ^ Dingledine, Rogert. "Tor is free". Tor-dev Mail List. Tor Project. Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  25. ^ Cite error: The named reference torproject-corepeople was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  26. ^ "Tor Project Form 990 2008" (PDF). Tor Project. 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  27. ^ "Tor Project Form 990 2007" (PDF). Tor Project. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  28. ^ "Tor Project Form 990 2009" (PDF). Tor Project. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2017. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  29. ^ Cite error: The named reference torproject-sponsors was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  30. ^ Cite error: The named reference wp-attacks-prompt was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  31. ^ Cite error: The named reference Wired-2014-11-07 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  32. ^ Cite error: The named reference BBC-2014-11-07 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  33. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference Motherboard2015 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  34. ^ Cite error: The named reference tor-blog-FBI was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  35. ^ Cite error: The named reference net-security-2015 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  36. ^ "Announcing Shari Steele as our new executive director". torproject.org. 11 November 2015. Archived from the original on 11 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  37. ^ Detsch, Jack (8 April 2016). "Tor aims to grow amid national debate over digital privacy: The Tor Project's new executive director Shari Steele is on a mission to change the image of the group's anonymous browser and make its 'clunky and hard to use' technology more user-friendly". Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on 5 May 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  38. ^ "Tor Project installs new board of directors after Jacob Appelbaum controversy" Archived 18 March 2018 at the Wayback Machine, Colin Lecher, 13 July 2016, The Verge
  39. ^ "The Tor Project Elects New Board of Directors" Archived 6 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine, 13 July 2016, Tor.org
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