A new anonymity network called Riffle, which has similar attributes to Tor, has been created by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Also read: Bitcoiners Who Use Tor – Be Warned!
MIT News reports a recent discovery of vulnerabilities within the Tor network, which has pushed computer scientists to produce a superior method of anonymous web browsing. Now, the Riffle network may be the answer to the call for better online privacy.
MIT Researchers Unveil Riffle For ‘Stronger Anonymity’
The project’s white paper, “Riffle: An Efficient Communication System with Strong Anonymity,” explains the anonymity network with great detail.
The network uses a chain of servers called Mixnet. Every server modifies messages received before pushing the message forward to other nodes. As long as one honest node exists the platform should never be faulty.
The Riffle white paper explains:
Riffle consists of a small set of anonymity servers and a large number of users and guarantees anonymity as long as there exists at least one honest server. Riffle uses a new hybrid verifiable shuffle technique and private information retrieval for bandwidth- and computation-efficient anonymous communication. We have evaluated Riffle in two different applications: file sharing and microblogging. Our evaluation shows that Riffle can achieve a bandwidth of over 100KB/s per user in an anonymity set of 200 users in the case of file sharing, and handle over 100,000 users with less than 10-second latency in the case of microblogging.
Riffle also uses onion encryption, which cocoons messages in many layers of obfuscation. Servers within the Riffle network removes one layer each before the final node (receiver) gets the message in its entirety. The platform has a few other novel approaches such, as a hybrid verifiable shuffle, and “private information retrieval in the anytrust setting.”
The motivation for the project was to underline the fundamental human right to remain anonymous, explain the white paper’s authors. The researchers say whistleblowers, protesters, and those with controversial viewpoints should always have access to a platform that enables people to voice their opinions. The writers note that Tor has become quite popular but is vulnerable to “traffic analysis attacks,” which come from “authoritarian government[s] or a state-controlled ISPs.”
Researchers behind Riffle believe existing anonymity systems sacrifice privacy for communication networks. Verifiable mixnets within the Riffle network achieve a better form of anonymity, the MIT scientists say, but the platform does suffer from high computation overhead. This particular issue could mean a series of Run-time complexity within software’s interface.
You Can Still Be Labeled An ‘Extremist’
This new research announcement from MIT News comes after the NSA leaks revealing the organization’s belief that Tor and Linux Tails users should be labeled extremists. Tor and Linux Tails users are profiled because the two pieces of software deploy anonymity features within the programs. Even Linux Journal Readers are considered risky civilians, according to Techspot.
Since many Bitcoiners use Tor and Tails for to protect their privacy, Riffle could become the better option in providing better privacy for financial transactions. With the NSA and other state agencies scouring these platforms, stronger anonymity would provide global citizens a way to transact without monitoring or supervision. MIT’s Riffle platform may be the censorship-resistant and privacy-centric project the world needs right now.
What do you think about this new privacy-centric network? Would you pick it over Tor? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Tor Network.