TOR: The Secret Internet Far Below the Surface

    skycentral.co.uk | TOR: The Secret Internet Far Below the Surface


    The internet is a vast and intricate network that is accessible to millions of people all over the world. However, there is a hidden side to the internet that most people aren’t aware of. Deep below the surface, there exists a secret internet known as TOR (The Onion Router). TOR is a network that allows users to browse the web anonymously and securely, protecting their privacy and ensuring freedom of expression. In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of TOR and shed light on this hidden part of the internet.

    History of TOR

    TOR was developed in the mid-1990s by the United States Naval Research Laboratory with the goal of protecting online communication for the government. The project was later released to the public as a free software in 2002 and has since evolved into a global network of servers and users. The name “The Onion Router” refers to the encryption method used by TOR, which works by routing internet traffic through multiple layers of relays, similar to the layers of an onion.

    How TOR Works

    TOR operates by bouncing internet traffic via a series of volunteer-operated servers known as “nodes” or “relays.” When a user connects to TOR, their web traffic is encrypted and then passed through a random path of these relays before reaching its destination. Each relay only knows the IP address of the previous and next relay, ensuring that no single relay can trace the complete path of the traffic. This process makes it extremely difficult for anyone to monitor or track the online activities of TOR users.

    Encryption and Security

    TOR provides a high level of security by encrypting data at each stage of the routing process. Additionally, TOR uses a technique called “onion routing” to provide anonymity. Each time data passes through a relay, it is encrypted with multiple layers of encryption. As the data travels through the network, each relay strips off a layer of encryption, revealing the next relay in the chain. The final relay decrypts the data and forwards it to its destination. This multi-layered encryption ensures the privacy and security of TOR users.

    Accessing the Dark Web

    One of the most well-known uses of TOR is accessing the dark web. The dark web refers to a part of the internet that is only accessible through special software like TOR. It is a haven for various illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, hacking forums, and black market sales. While TOR itself is legal, the content found on the dark web is often illegal or unsavory. It is crucial to exercise caution and understand the potential risks when exploring this hidden part of the internet.

    Protecting Journalists and Whistleblowers

    TOR has become a valuable tool for journalists and whistleblowers who wish to protect their identity and communicate securely. In countries where freedom of the press is restricted, journalists can use TOR to bypass censorship and securely transmit information to the outside world. Whistleblowers can also use TOR to anonymously leak sensitive documents without the fear of being traced or identified. By providing a secure platform, TOR empowers individuals to speak out against corruption and human rights abuses.

    Privacy Concerns and Criticisms

    While TOR offers a level of anonymity and security, it is not without its fair share of critics. Law enforcement agencies argue that the anonymity provided by TOR hinders their ability to investigate and prevent criminal activities. The dark web’s association with illegal activities has also tarnished TOR’s reputation in the eyes of many. Furthermore, there have been instances where governments have attempted to block or disrupt TOR, highlighting the ongoing battle between privacy advocates and authorities.


    TOR remains a unique and powerful tool that allows individuals to protect their privacy and access a hidden part of the internet. Whether used for legitimate purposes like anonymous journalism or for nefarious activities on the dark web, TOR has undeniably changed the way we perceive and navigate the online world. As technology continues to evolve, the debate over privacy, security, and the role of TOR in our digital lives will undoubtedly persist. The secret internet far below the surface continues to fascinate and challenge our understanding of the internet as a whole.