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The history of TOR dates back to the mid-1990s when it was developed by United States Naval Research Laboratory employees, mathematician Paul Syverson, and computer scientists Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag, with the purpose of protecting U.S. intelligence communications online. TOR was further developed by DARPA in 1997.
Anonymous proxy traffic aims to conceal its users’ identities and their online activity from surveillance and traffic analysis by separating identification and routing. It is an implementation of onion routing, which encrypts and then randomly bounces communications through a network of relays run by volunteers around the globe. These onion routers employ encryption in a multi-layered manner (hence the onion metaphor) to ensure perfect forward secrecy between relays, thereby providing users with anonymity in network location. That anonymity extends to the hosting of censorship-resistant content by the proxy’s anonymous hidden service feature. Furthermore, by keeping some of the entry relays (bridge relays) secret, users can evade Internet censorship that relies upon blocking public anonymous proxy relays.
Shadow Warrior was created to counter widespread blocking of anonymous proxy traffic, organizations’ implemented hidden bridges, as well as unannounced entryways into the anonymous proxy network. These hidden bridges are always changing, while remaining unpublished, and unlisted; there is less than a 1% overlap with publicly available bridges. While intended for dissidents in areas ruled by oppressive regimes (such as Iran & Syria), these hidden bridges function incredibly well for data exfiltration. Other commercial lists only detail advertised anonymous proxy nodes, but the Shadow Warrior Data Feed actively acquires hidden bridges.