Tor and Anonymity: An Academic Introduction to the Dark Web – CF028

Listen Mobile:

Cyber Frontiers is all about Exploring Cyber security, Big Data, and the Technologies Shaping the Future Through an Academic Perspective!   Christian Johnson, a student at the University of Maryland will bring fresh and relevant topics to the show based on the current work he does.

Please leave a REVIEW (iPhone or iPad) –

Support the Average Guy Tech Scholarship Fund:

WANT TO SUBSCRIBE? We now have Video Large / Small and Video iTunes options at

You can contact us via email at or call in your questions or comments to be played on the show at (402) 478-8450

Full show notes and video at

Tor: The Second-Generation Onion Router

A circuit-based low-latency anonymous communication service.

Discussion: Define sender & receiver anonymity, how Tor powers the Dark Web, common misconceptions, etc.

Difference between a Mixnet & Tor

Mix networks get their security from the mixing done by their component mixes, and may or may not use route unpredictability to enhance security. Onion routing networks primarily get their security from choosing routes that are difficult for the adversary to observe, which for designs deployed to date has meant choosing unpredictable routes through a network. And onion routers typically employ no mixing at all. This gets at the essence of the two even if it is a bit too quick on both sides. Mixes are also usually intended to resist an adversary that can observe all traffic everywhere and, in some threat models, to actively change traffic. Onion routing assumes that an adversary who observes both ends of a communication path will completely break the anonymity of its traffic. Thus, onion routing networks are designed to resist a local adversary, one that can only see a subset of the network and the traffic on it.

In  both cases remember that this isn’t solely about confidentiality of data transmitted, rather, it’s ensuring that messages are repudiable which ensures sender or receiver anonymity.

Mix-nets create uncertainty for their attackers to overcome, uses junk packets, random time intervals, etc. In Tor there is no “mix” directly (it is routed), packets are sent immediately after a node receives (or forwarded), no junk packets are used.

Central to both concepts is the use of encryption to protect data and identities in transit.

And Thus is Born, the Dark Web:

The Dark Web is a term that refers specifically to a collection of websites that are publicly visible, but hide the IP addresses of the servers that run them. Thus they can be visited by any web user, but it is very difficult to work out who is behind the sites. And you cannot find these sites using search engines.

And this brings us to… VPNs and A Preview of Anonabox Pro


Jim’s Twitter:!/jcollison

Contact Christian:

Contact the show at

Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at

Music courtesy of Ryan King. Check out the Die Hard Cafe band and other original works at: