What is Tor and how does it work?

What is Tor and how does it work?

The exit node is the weakest link in this chain. There is no guarantee that the exit node is not logging the contents of your requests, modifying them, or injecting malware into them if the connection to the website you are visiting does not use TLS encryption. If your system is not properly configured, cookies or the contents of your messages could still be used to identify you.

To circumvent exit nodes on the dark web, use .onion addresses

There is a way to avoid utilizing exit nodes entirely. However, in order for this to work, the website you are browsing must have a .onion address. This address is not the same as a standard domain name because it cannot be properly registered. Domain names are typically alphanumeric strings produced by a public cryptographic key. Using such a domain not only removes the exit node from the equation but also prevents both the user and the site from knowing where the other party is.

Many well-known websites have .onion domains: ExpressVPN’s is http://expressobutiolem.onion/, whereas Facebook’s is facebookwkhpilnemxj7asaniu7vnjjbiltxjqhye3mhbshg7kx5tfyd.onion. (Please keep in mind that you will require the Tor Browser to view this and other .onion sites.)

Facebook is also one of the few sites that have TLS certificates for their .onion domains. This does not greatly increase the privacy or security of the content, but it can aid in determining whether the site you are connected to is the one you intended to visit. Many sites are only accessible via their .onion address in order to remain uncensorable and to conceal their location. This area of the Internet is commonly referred to as the dark web (not to be confused with the deep web).

In practice,.onion addresses have an additional purpose. They are a simple solution for making your devices accessible within restricted networks with stringent firewalls, such as student residences or corporate complexes. If you wish to host a personal server in such an environment, for example, utilizing tor and an onion address is a straightforward approach to make this device reachable from the outside.