Onion Routing

Author : Sefira Karina

Privacy in the online world has become such a big deal in today’s world. Many people even choose to go online using fake names, avoids displaying self-potraits, all for privacy and security. It is true that internet privacy is important in order to avoid crimes, such as other people stealing credit card information, identity theft, and many more.

When the word internet privacy is said, many may relate it to things like proxy servers. However, it is almost impossible to be truly hidden in the internet. Most of the actives online can be traced back. But it is also depends on how hard it is to trace those actions.

Activities that are done online with proxy server are not exactly hidden or save.  Proxy servers keep logs of all the traffic that passes through, which means that they can actually point back to you if necessary. Moreover, according to Haschek, 79 percent of surveyed proxy services forbid secure, HTTPS traffic which allows secure communication over a computer network and make it possible for users to enter personal information such as passwords, addressed, or credit card numbers.

On the other hand, onion routing can be seen as a saver and more advance form of proxy routing. Instead of routing through a single unprotected server, it uses a network of nodes that constantly encrypt your data packets at every step. In an onion network, messages are encapsulated in layers of encryption, that’s why it is called ‘onion’ because it resembles an onion that has many layers.

When people browse the internet with a normal web browser, it requests webpages with simple GET requests to server without any intermediary. It is a very plain connection between clients and servers and if someone sniff on the computer, the can know which server the computer is contacting.

While onion routing, instead of routing through a single unprotected server, it uses a network of nodes that constantly encrypt the data packets at every step. Here’s a picture of how TOR (the onion router) works.

File:Wat is Tor (The onion routing)?.png

img source:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wat_is_Tor_(The_onion_routing)%3F.png





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