These are ways that people may attain increased privacy on the Internet.
Over the coming months, the non-profit Tor Project will upgrade the security and privacy of the so-called “onion services,” or “hidden services,” that enable the darknet’s anonymity. While the majority of people who run the Tor Project’s software use it to browse the web anonymously, and circumvent censorship in countries like Iran and China, the group also maintains code that allows anyone to host an anonymous website or serverthe basis for the darknet.
That code is now getting a revamp, set to go live sometime later this year, designed to both strengthen its encryption and to let administrators easily create fully secret darknet sites that can only be discovered by those who know a long string of unguessable characters. And those software tweaks, says Tor Project co-founder Nick Mathewson, could not only allow tighter privacy on the darknet, but also help serve as the basis for a new generation of encryption applications.
“Someone can create a hidden service just for you that only you would know about, and the presence of that particular hidden service would be non-discoverable,” says Mathewson, who helped to code some of the first versions of Tor in 2003. “As a building block, that would provide a much stronger basis for relatively secure and private systems than we’ve had before.”