As the motto goes, ‘the Tor community of software and services aims to make the internet experience safer and better. To achieve that, many people around the world support Tor ideologically or actively participate in the projects. Other motivations, such as attacking Tor, learn more about the users and their real identities. No matter which approaches someone follows, there is one common discussion: what are the system’s weaknesses, and how do we exploit them?
Many researchers are studying Tor design and its potential vulnerabilities around the world. Many of them focus on what is going on in the network, how to collect and analyze Tor data, how to improve its design, and so forth.
The main source for Tor-related research would be the ‘Tor Research Home’ webpage run by the Tor community. Since there is a lot of overlap in research topics, such as collecting Tor-related data, measuring current Tor statistics, or running analysis based on these findings, sharing what others have achieved so far or meeting with other researchers in the community makes a lot of sense. For these reasons, Tor Research Home also has a list of ‘Tech Reports’ giving background information.
Tor is not a very old solution, and the first paper on the idea was published only 10 years ago. However, the discussions related to anonymity and privacy-preserving network communications go back to the 1980s. Thus, there is a lot of background information to cover, especially for academia. As an example, there is a very structured list of anonymity-related academic publications at Freehaven.net.
Along with the academic research and technical analysis in anonymity studies and Tor, there are more practical efforts within the Tor ecosystem. Bundle software development, browser add-ons, simulators, libraries, client services, backend services, and utilities are some of them. A more detailed list of projects can be found on the community web page. The idea behind all these applications is to support the Tor community in every possible way, be it end-user, developer, or researcher. If there is an issue with Tor, there is probably a solution, a workaround, or at least a discussion on that very topic within the Tor community.