What is TOR?
Why Anonymity Matters. Tor was originally called The Onion Router because it uses a technique called onion routing to conceal information about user activity. The user data is first encrypted and then transferred through different relays present in the Tor network, thus creating a multi-layered encryption (layers like an onion), thereby keeping the identity of the user safe.
Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location. You can use Tor if you want to conceal your identity on the web or access some website that blocked in your region.
Now more than ever people are looking for ways to protect their privacy online. For anyone who has privacy concerns or surveillance fears, Tor is something worth knowing about — and using. Tor aims to conceal its users’ identities and their online activity from surveillance and traffic analysis by separating identification and routing.
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has called Tor “the King of high secure, low latency Internet anonymity.” And similar comments by BusinessWeek magazine, “perhaps the most effective means of defeating the online surveillance efforts of intelligence agencies around the world”.
TOR encrypts your connection, not your data. So, if you’re sending some ‘plaintext’ information, then at the exit node, where the last layer of encryption is decrypted, the vulnerability exists that someone might access your unprotected data. So, it is advised that you use HTTPS connections to safeguard your data while it is on its way to the destination server.
And try not to send any confidential information like your email, phone or other personal details without any encryption, as it might serve as the means to identify you, no matter how many relays you’ve jumped through.