Connor Livingston Connor Livingston is a tech blogger who will be launching his own site soon, Lythyum. He lives in Oceanside, California, and has never surfed in his life. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

MIT researchers have found a way to de-anonymize Tor

50 sec read

Tor has been described as the most important tool for anonymous communication in the world by numerous privacy advocates and even the NSA has admitted (behind closed doors) that it’s impossible to crack, but some researchers at MIT have found a clever way to do just that. Rather than breaking through any encryption, however, the researchers have developed a method of de-anonymizing Tor users by using a few algorithms. 

The Tor network has millions of daily users who rely on it for anonymous access to resources on the open internet and within Tor itself. There have been various attacks on the anonymous aspect of Tor over the years, but a new proof of concept from researchers at MIT demonstrates what may be the simplest way yet to find out what people are accessing through Tor. Luckily, there’s also a fix Tor’s operators can implement. Tor was originally an acronym for “the onion router,” which is an accurate description of how it’s structured. It offers anonymous access to online resources by passing user requests through multiple layers of encrypted connections. It all starts at the entry node, sometimes called the guard. That’s the only system that knows your real IP address, but the next node in the chain only knows the IP of the entry node, the next only knows the previous node’s address, and so on until you reach the destination.

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Connor Livingston Connor Livingston is a tech blogger who will be launching his own site soon, Lythyum. He lives in Oceanside, California, and has never surfed in his life. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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