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At my work, I have a network administrator that presumably sees everything I connect to on the internet (and has banned things like Facebook, Youtube, etc). However, tor seems to let me through those blocks. How does Tor prevent my network admin and local network from seeing what I'm doing. It seems to me that everything I request from my browser must go through my work's router/network first. Can't they see these initial requests? Does this anonymity also apply to downloading?

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Maybe you should consider saving your browsing for when your not at work. Which one is more important: A job or Facebook? – TheLQ Jul 19 '10 at 21:06
Keep in mind that while the admin cannot see the content of what you are doing he most likely can see that you are doing something. If you cannot come up with a good explanation about why you are hiding your activity you may face dismissal, and even criminal charges if someone suspects you have compromised the network somehow. – Zoredache Jul 19 '10 at 22:21
Like said a bit in the earlier comments, keep in mind that cheating the company rules about filtered content is a reason to get you fired in some firms. It's not even about time you spend there. Keep in mind that you are on their computers, their network, their rules. It's better to negotiate with your local sysadmin, if you have a good reason to do it. If not, you should not do this, for your own job safety. – Gnoupi Jul 20 '10 at 9:04
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The Wikipedia article explains this quite nicely.

Basically, you run a proxy on your system which encrypts outgoing traffic, so no, your admin cannot see what you are doing, as data only leaves your system in encrypted form.

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this applies to DLs too right? I found that I can download youtube vids from; can the admin see those? – sepiroth Jul 19 '10 at 20:50
@hatorade: That depends :-). It applies to downloads if they are done via Tor. If you download using Firefox itself (i.e. downloading a regular link), then yes. If a plugin (such as Flash) downloads something, then possibly not. That is why Flash etc. are usually disabled while using Tor. See e.g. – sleske Jul 19 '10 at 21:39

Because it uses a proxy (different port than HTTP) configured in your browser, your Network admin has not blocked that port yet. Tor uses encryption to mask any data that goes between your PC and the tor network.

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