Traffic Studies Reveal Complex Picture of Tor's Role on 'Dark Web'

April 14, 2016

The focus on Tor's bad side has resulted in people wanting to shut down the Dark Net and, by extension, the Tor Network, Eric Jardine, research fellow for the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), told eWEEK. More than 70 percent of people across the globe want to shutter the Dark Net, CIGI found in its annual 2016 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust, which polled more than 24,000 Internet users.

"A lot of people really don't know what the Tor network is as a technology and what its various functions are," he said. "And they see a news story—such as child-abuse ring or an illegal marketplace—and they have a knee-jerk reaction, saying, 'We don't need this. Shut it down.'"

In a separate study, bot-blocker Distil Networks—whose data may be more comparable to CloudFlare's—found that 48 percent of traffic from Tor and other proxies violated its rules for legitimate traffic. A small number of users can easily create a large volume of malicious traffic, Rami Essaid, CEO of Distil, told eWEEK.

"You can have a handful of bad actors that can pollute the Tor IPs, since the fundamental premise of Tor is to not assign a static IP of an individual," he said.

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