Hello my friends of Tor Browser,

I have a theoretical question about the power of a global adversary, such as (the) NSA.

Given the 7 hop security level when visiting a hidden onion service, is there a point of failure that would make it possible for a global adversary to figure out what sites I'm visiting while using Tor?

Assuming I'm not stupid, have a certain technical knowledge and won't use any security risk such as Windows.

For example, if I would visit a hidden service that offers tons of services and a discussion board. When I would simply visit it and read the discussion board, could I get into trouble as there are parts on this website that offer clearly illegal things? My purpose is not placing any orders, downloading anything or leaving this service for questionable urls.

Is there any danger in it? If so, how likely is it, I would be in trouble? Given my ISP saves traffic data for only 10 days.


Your ISP would see that you are using Tor. They would not see what you are doing on Tor.

The onion service that you visit would see that someone is visiting their site but they would have no way to see who you are unless you tell them.

However, be aware that in the past police bodies have taken over sites dealing with illegal material and have put malware on them that exploits unknown bugs in the Tor Browser. This causes the browser to give aware their true identity to the police. I can't say how common this practice is today but if you are on that kind of site, there is a good chance some police organization probably wants to take it down and you should take care of such risks by using the safer or safest security levels.


I'm aware than my ISP sees that I'm using Tor. This is not a problem, as using Tor is nothing illegal or suspicious in my country.

My concern would be that a global adversary would basically be controlling my entry guard and coincidentally the other nodes I connect through as well, therefor seeing my real data. This is why I was interested if connecting to a onion services takes this risk away, as connecting works different. (7 hops instead of 3 compared to regular sites).

I'm aware that in the past the FBI used NIT attacks. First of all, I would question if this kind of attacks are still possible with Tails, highest security settings and all scripts disabled.

In addition to that, I would question the legality of such an attack on a website that mainly hosts legal things. The majority of people exposed to such an attack would be harmless people.

I obviously can understand that such an attack is possible and based on legal grounds if such a sites offers only illegal services. But that is not the case for the site I'm referring to.

But thank you for your help, JSEvans.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.