The TOR anonymity network is a great tool for those looking to simply remain anonymous while browsing, among other less desirable activities. They’re intended use is still a big market, but the problem is that TOR is far less secure than it once was. Now that it’s under more scrutiny, it’s being specifically targeted and your data can still be captured in any number of novel ways. MIT has a solution to that with their new network that they’ve dubbed “Riffle“.
At the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium, researchers at both MIT and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in France will present a new underlying technology that has is much better suited to keeping privacy and security. It also could help increase the bandwidth of these anonymity networks as well.
Riffle works a bit differently than TOR and can retain privacy if at least one server in the network is still operation and not compromised. The mixnet, as it’s called, fluctuates the order that messages it receives are sent onward to their destination. It basically alters the encryption of messages in a way that can still be verified. That means that all the servers on the network would be needed in order to successfully, and quickly, decrypt any data and reveal anything. The great part is just how fast this technique actually is. That means that more personal PCs can be part of the network because there isn’t a huge background processing requirement.
Riffle isn’t quite ready for prime time, but the concept and a likely a working example will be shown at the PETS this month. And after it’s successfully used in trials, we can expect a wider adoption after that. It’s almost the perfect recipe for privacy and that might just be very attractive to potential patrons.