Tor: An anonymous Internet communication system
Tor is a toolset for a wide range of organizations and people that want to improve their safety and security on the Internet. Using Tor can help you anonymize web browsing and publishing, instant messaging, IRC, SSH, and other applications that use the TCP protocol. Tor also provides a platform on which software developers can build new applications with built-in anonymity, safety, and privacy features.
Your traffic is safer when you use Tor, because communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers, called onion routers. Tor's technology aims to provide Internet users with protection against "traffic analysis," a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.
Instead of looking at the content of your communications, traffic analysis tracks where your data goes and when, as well as how much is sent. Tor aims to make traffic analysis more difficult by preventing websites, eavesdroppers, and even the onion routers themselves from tracing your communications online. This means Tor lets you decide whether to identify yourself when you communicate.
Tor's security is improved as its user base grows and as more people volunteer to run servers. Please consider volunteering your time or volunteering your bandwidth. And remember that this is development code—it's not a good idea to rely on the current Tor network if you really need strong anonymity.
We are now actively looking for new sponsors and funding. The Tor project was launched by The Free Haven Project in 2002. In the past, Tor development was funded by contracts with the Naval Research Lab (inventor of onion routing) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (who still kindly hosts our website). Sponsors of Tor get personal attention, better support, publicity (if they want it), and get to influence the direction of our research and development!