Spies everywhere

Are you concerned about the privacy of your web surfing? Tor is a free software that enables users to communicate anonymously. It hides a user's location and usage from anyone who might be snooping around. Using the software makes it difficult to trace internet activity back to the user.

Tor has promised to keep its users transactions private, but it has limitations. A hacker can still compromise its users anonymity. Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) might have created something better with Riffle. This anonymity network promises to keep transactions private as long as one's server remains safe.

Credit: London Allen

Sacred Privacy

The secret behind Riffle is the use of a mixnet. Mixnet or mix networks are routing protocols that use a chain of proxy servers that take messages from different senders and shuffles them. Then the messages are sent to the destination in a random order. This makes it hard for an eavesdropper to link the source with its receiver.  In the case of Riffle, as Engadget reports, it relies on a verifiable shuffle across all servers for the initial connection then an authentication encryption, where you have to prove the validity of the encrypted message itself, for the rest of the process. This way, even malicious servers have to shuffle the messages correctly so that things don't get messed up. As long as a single server on the network is sound, Riffle is secure.

The technique is also exceptionally efficient, where it takes just a tenth of the time it takes a conventional anonymity network to transfer data. Riffle is still far from being perfect but with its tougher security, it might become the top choice for those who don't like their business to be easily spied upon.

Share This Article