How TOR knows all nodes

last year
Tor has ability to look at all nodes, which used for creating "way" between my PC and target resource. How TOR does it (as I understand, each node is secured and next node should not know anything about previous) and why?

last year
There is a public list of all Tor nodes (except Bridged). You can view it in Vidalia, or here:
or google "list of Tor nodes"

When you start a session, your Tor client randomly picks 3 nodes from that list (lets call them, NodeA, NodeB, ExitNode).
Then it creates packet for the last node (ExitNode) - for example, "GET"
Encrypts this packet with ExitNode's public key (so only ExitNode can decrypt it back).
Let's call it Packet1.
After that Tor creates second packet, which contains Packet1 inside. This packet is intended for NodeB and is encrypted with NodeB key. It has such instructions: "Connect to this IP (IP of ExitNode) and send him Packet1".
This will be Packet2.
And the third packet is for NodeA, and it says: "Connect to NodeB and send him Packet2".

After that Tor client connects to NodeA and sends him Packet3.

When NodeA receives this packet, he doesn't know what's inside. So he doesn't know IP of ExitNode, and instructions inside it (GET The only thing NodeA can disassemble from third packet is the IP Address of NodeB, and some random encrypted data (we call it Packet2) that should be sent to that IP. So it sends.

When NodeB receives Packet2, it decrypts it with private key and disassembles. Inside there is an IP address of ExitNode, and some encrypted data (Packet1) to send.

And only ExitNode can decrypt Packet1, and actually go & visit

Each node in the chain knows only it's neighbors: IP address of next node in the chain, and IP address who sends this packet. So ExitNode doesn't know IP of NodeA, and NodeA doesn't know IP of ExitNode.


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