Developers have released what they say is the first free anonymous routing system that uses so-called “onion routing” to mask its users’ addresses.
Roger Dingledine of the Free Haven Project gave the DefCon security conference a briefing on the developing technology, which he calls Tor, for The Onion Routing or Tor’s Onion Routing.
Onion routing combines mix anonymity services, where multiple messages are mixed up before being sent, and proxy services, which provide anonymity by providing one layer of indirection.
The idea is that users in a peer-to-peer network proxy for and encrypt each other’s traffic, with three layers of redirection between the two communicating nodes.
Dingledine said the system, still under development, will provide anonymity but with low latency. In tests, he said, a 60MB file downloaded in 300 seconds using Tor, compared to 210 seconds without it.