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Sites are increasingly blocking access to Tor users

The web security company CloudFlare has released new data revealing that more and more companies are blocking users who use the Tor network to access their websites.

Matthew Prince, the company's CEO, says that 94 per cent of the requests that it sees coming from the Tor network are “per se malilcious.” Its not that Tor Users are accessing illegal content but rather that more automated requests including spam, vulnerability scanning, ad click fraud, content scraping and login scanning is done through the Tor Network.

Project Honey Pot found that 6.5 trillion unwanted messages are sent each year after automated bots harvest email addresses using the Tor network to do so. A blog post by Prince on CloudFlare's site contains a graph which shows how almost 70 per cent of the exit nodes on Tor were listed as comment spammer nodes over the last year.

Tor is based around anonymity and because of that it is quite difficult to monitor individual browsers using the network. Last month, CloudFlare began to identify Tor users as their own country to give its customers four different options to handle their traffic.

Companies that use CloudFlare's services can whitelist Tor users, test them using CAPTCHA or through a javascript challenge or even choose to blacklist their traffic. However only enterprise customers currently have the option to blacklist Tor users.

As the network has gained in popularity more websites have begin placing limits on its users. Wikipedia has decided to allow them to view but not to edit articles. Google gives Tor users access to its homepage but is using more CAPTCHAS and blocking pages when they perform searches.

Bank of America has gone so far as to deny Tor users the right to login using the network. Yelp, Macys, and BestBuy are currently blocking 60-70 per cent of all Tor exit nodes.

Tor's rise in popularity could potentially cause its users to rethink using its network to access the Internet.

Image Credit: g0d4ather / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.