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Tor Anonymous Browsing is free software maintained by The Tor Project non-profit organization which allows users to browse the Internet anonymously to protect online privacy and bypass online censorship using a middle-man encryption method.Tor is widely known as one of the most accessible methods for browsing the deep web. The browsing software works by using a network of relays which transports users to routers at high speeds to ensure the original machine cannot be detected. The software is maintained by the non-profit organization The Tor Project, which had a budget of about $2 million dollars in 2012. 80% of this amount was provided by US government organizations.
Tor was initially created as a new routing technology by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory who were concerned with protecting government communications. The alpha version of the TOR software was announced via FreeHaven.net mailing list on September 20th, 2002, followed by its presentation at the 13th USENIX Security Symposium on August 13th, 2004. Eventually, the software was released for home use on December 2006 by “The Tor Project”. Tor was originally an acronym for “The Onion Router”, but it is now referred to as simply “Tor”. The “Onion” part of the name referred to the way in which data packets were encrypted before being sent over the web. Each node would unencrypted a part of the packet, making the packet similar to the layers of an onion. The final layer would then reveal the packets destination.
The Silk Road was a deep web marketplace could only be accessed with the Tor browser, which facilitated Bitcoin transactions for sellers specializing in drugs. Concern over the security of Tor began to take place when the founder of Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht was arrested in connection with running the marketplace.
Concern of the security of Tor users began to take place when it was revealed in documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden that the United States National Security Agency had been using a security bug to de-anonymize Tor users. Documents noting an attack codenamed “Egotistical Giraffe” showed that the NSA was using software vulnerabilities to monitor Tor traffic.