ANONYMITY NETWORK Tor has new updates to its infrastructure to help protect the identity of servers that take advantage of its privacy-aware communication system.
There's a changing tide in the expectations of internet users. Many people are resorting to the dark web to browse websites privately, in order to stay off Google's databases, for example, and not necessarily to try to conduct crime online.
Onion services also provide bloggers and publishers in repressive parts of the world with a way to communicate with the outside world while protecting themselves and their readers.
Tor, which is freely downloadable software that plugs-in to the Firefox web browser, enables users to browse websites privately using an encrypted connection. However, much of the service has become outdated, its maintainers admit, and has been targeted by national governments.
It is looking to improve its security and has announced a string of new updates, focusing primarily on boosting security and performance for private web users.
The company said that it has integrated new encryption algorithms, a redesigned directory and improved overall authentication into its web service.
The organisation also claims that the new design will protect websites only accessible via Tor. Previously, this information has been leaked. The updates are available in an alpha release.
"We believe that being able to express yourself and publish content with privacy is as important as being able to browse the web privately, and hence we consider onion services a critical part of the internet," the organisation said.
"The legacy onion system has been around for over 10 years and its age has started to show.
"On the cryptography side, we are looking at cutting-edge crypto algorithms and improved authentication schemes.
"On the protocol end, we redesigned the directory system to defend against info leaks and reduce the overall attack surface.
"However, with this next-generation design, your onion address is completely private and only known to you and whoever you choose to disclose it to.
"Now, from an engineer's perspective, the new protocol is way more extensible and features a cleaner codebase." µ
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