The Tor Project revealed that its network has been suffering from “several different types of ongoing DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service attacks) for at least seven months.
For Tor Browser users who have been wondering why the onion has been having network connectivity and performance issues lately, you are not alone; many others have had problems with the sites loading altogether.
The Tor Project’s Executive Director, Isabela Dias Fernandes, reported on Tuesday that the network has been targeted by a wave of DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service attacks) for at least the past seven months.
“At some points, the attacks impacted the network severely enough that users could not load pages or access onion services,” Fernandes said on Tuesday.
“We have been working hard to mitigate the impacts and defend the network from these attacks. The methods and targets of these attacks have changed over time and we are adapting as these attacks continue.”
Fernandes also promises that the Tor team will keep tweaking and improving the network defences to counter the ongoing issue. However, they have not yet discovered the goal of these attacks or the identity of the attackers behind them. The Tor Network team will also be expanded to include two new members focusing on .onion service development.
“To clarify, our services have not been down, but on occasion slow for some users, and it is important to note that the user experience is affected by a variety of factors, including what onion services are being used, or which relays get picked when they build a circuit through Tor.”
What is Tor Browser?
Tor Browser or “The Onion Router,” is a free, open-source web browser that allows users to browse the internet anonymously. It was originally developed for US Naval Intelligence in the mid-1990s and was released into the public domain in October 2002.
It is worth noting that the Tor browser utilizes multi-layered encryption of data packets, making it difficult, but not impossible, for anyone to track or monitor user activity on the internet.
The core concept behind Tor is that it creates a network of nodes with each layer acting as an encrypted tunnel so that when a user sends out information, they are virtually untraceable. With every node encrypted; no one can trace where the data originated from or who may have accessed it during transmission. As such, this makes Tor ideal for those looking to keep their online activities private and secure especially journalists and whistleblowers.
What is a DDoS Attack?
A DDoS attack stands for Distributed Denial-of-Service attack. It is a type of cyberattack that uses multiple compromised Internet of Things (IoT) or smart devices including computers, routers, cameras, etc. to create a botnet and send massive amounts of traffic to a single targeted server or website to overwhelm it and make it inaccessible for regular users.