Some people use Tor to anonymize and obscure their activities online—to access social media, blocked content, or other internet websites without revealing their true location. Others use Tor to access content on the so-called dark web, which isn’t accessible to users outside of Tor.
By Matthew Braga|MOTHERBOARD
The balance between these two use cases has never been clear. But according to preliminary data, most of Tor’s traffic might not actually be destined for the dark web at all.
According to a blog post written by Tor developer George Kadianakis this week, the team has developed way to glean more statistics about how the service is used, without encroaching on the privacy of its users.
„We’ve been working on methods to improve our calculations, but with our current methodology, we estimate that about 30,000 hidden services announce themselves to the Tor network every day, using about 5 terabytes of data daily,“ Kadianakis wrote. „We also found that hidden service traffic is about 3.4 percent of total Tor traffic, which means that, at least according to our early calculations, 96.6 percent of Tor traffic is not hidden services.“
In other words, the majority of Tor traffic comes from users that are using the network to browse the public-facing web anonymously, and not by those accessing hidden sites, such as the now-defunct Silk Road.