Tor Infrastructure Operation: Detailed Visualization in the TorFlow Project
For the tool, which should ensure the anonymity of the user on the network, Tor is surprisingly “transparent”. As you know , with the help of Tor, users can remain anonymous on the Internet when visiting websites, blogging, sending instant and email messages, as well as when working with other applications using the TCP protocol. Traffic anonymization is ensured through the use of a distributed network of servers - nodes. Tor technology also provides protection from traffic analysis mechanisms that threaten not only privacy on the Internet, but also the confidentiality of trade secrets, business contacts and communication secrets in general.
The data visualization company has now collected information on the Web about the location of Tor nodes, serving servers, the bandwidth of some networks and data centers involved in the Tor system. This information was visualized and presented in an understandable way.
The project was called TorFlow, and it was prepared using Uncharted. The company's specialists mapped the nodes of the network and data traffic based on IP addresses and the operation of “buffer” servers, which ensure anonymity of users. “Tor’s main goal is to ensure the anonymity of the participants,” said David Schroh, one of the project’s participants. “By visualizing this, you can see patterns that you did not expect to see.”
By the way, despite the fact that the United States has 1300 out of 6000 Tor nodes, we see most of the hubs on the map in Germany, France, the Netherlands and the UK. TorFlow shows Tor hubs in the most unexpected places, including Libya and Liberia. The map shows the growth of the network over the past 8 years - the development took place through expansion from West to East. TorFlow is primarily designed to show how the Tor infrastructure works, but there is additional information, including the number of users in a given country. In order to view such data, you need to click on the outline of the country on the map.
The visualization itself is available here .