OK, I came across tor browser couple of years ago. Then I have been using tor browser some some reason or another. Normally I use Firefox or Google chrome but if I want to hide my IP then I use tor.

Recently I came across deep web. I had previously knowledge about deep web but now I thought of doing some research on it. You can access many deep websites through tor. Which is in many cases useful.

So, many people with tor browser knowledge, they know that the Internet traffic is routed through tor’s network and goes through several randomly selected relays before exiting the Tor network. The last Tor node, where the traffic leaves the Tor network and enters the open Internet, can be monitored.

Now my question comes here. When the exit nodes can be monitored, Can it also be monitored from whom the request came from? Yes, I have read in the internet it cannot be monitored but also I have read somewhere that the actual IP address and the request was monitored. I really want to know if it is really really safe to use tor browser in-terms of anonymity. If I want to use deep web, will tor browser will really really help me. Can I be really safe without any authority or government agency like NSA spying on me?

  • Later tonight, I might write an extended answer on this one. But for now, let me address one big misconception here. Deep web sites (specifically ones that you can only access using Tor) usually reside in the Tor network itself; Tor hidden services (which usually run Tor deep-web sites) are hosted on a Tor node. There's no exit node to be analyzed/monitored here. I thought I'd never say such thing, but I'll go ahead and say it: For more on this, please check how Tor hidden services work at Tor.SE.
    – Adi
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 15:01
  • 1
    We also already have a ton of existing questions about Tor, so a search on this site will likely find you an answer.
    – Xander
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 15:05
  • You can use the TOR browser to attempt to make yourself anonymous, however; most users make mistakes and give themselves away in spite of using it. Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


Tor users can be traced through traffic analysis by people who can inspect traffic for both exit nodes and entry nodes: namely, they can correlate entry of a data packet at some entry node with subsequent exit of a packet of the same size (actually a bit smaller, because of encryption overhead) soon afterwards from an exit node. The spies, here, need to control either node; they just need to make passive observation of the traffic which enters and exits the node.

It is interesting to note that adding intermediate nodes does not help much against traffic analysis. The real source of the problem is that the user (that's you) is not patient: when he clicks on a link, he does not want to wait for five seconds before the page begins to show up, then another five seconds before the pictures and CSS are obtained and the page begins to visually make sense. If the user was patient, then the Tor nodes could add random delays on the packet propagation, to make traffic analysis substantially harder. But that's Web browsing, not emailing; latency is not tolerated.

Arguably, by simply asking a question on security.SE about how you could use Tor to become really anonymous, you have already awaken your arch-enemy (the NSA), who has added you on the list of "people to monitor". It might be a bit too late to "go anonymous".

(If I were a spy agency manager, I would instruct my troops to survey Web sites which discuss anonymizing tools like Tor, because my targets of interest would be interested in such tools. Assuming that a government agency like the NSA can collectively be as smart as me -- which might be a preposterous claim, because collective intelligence is known to drop quite fast when too many people are aggregated in the endeavour -- then I may surmise that the NSA already monitors this very site that we are presently using. Hi!)

  • 2
    oh shit!! I am a NSA target now. Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 15:07
  • I recall a paper showing that the delay would need to be on the order of hours to make a real difference (long enough to be incompatible with TCP itself), not just a few extra seconds.
    – forest
    Commented May 2, 2018 at 2:32

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