Individuals who are not tech savvy still associate the Tor anonymity network solely with the criminal elements of the dark web. However, that’s not always the case, tor is increasingly being used by publishers such as the New York Times to avoid censorship in certain countries.
The anonymity network is also used by everyday users who have the intention of protecting their privacy. The only problem with the technology is that it’s over ten years old now. This possess a huge threat since more governments and hackers are targeting its systems, this calls for a new generation of onion services to be integrated into the existing system.
The group behind Tor, The Tor Project, has been working on the update, which is intended to strengthen security and keep data anonymized, for the last four years. The system is now available in an alpha release.
A closer look at the cryptography side reveals that we are looking at cutting-edge crypto algorithms and improved authentication schemes. The protocol end incorporates redesigned directory system to defend against info leaks and reduce the overall attack surface.
A good example is the networks ability to learn about onions in the legacy onion system. 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.
Majority of the Tor users will not notice any of the changes, though the new .onion domain names will be longer. According to the Tor Project said that while the current code stabilizes, more features will be added in the future. They’ll include advanced client authorization, offline service keys, and improved guard algorithms.
The legacy onion system will remain in the default option as the bugs are ironed out and extra features are added to the new iteration, though the plan is to phase out the older technology in a few years’ time.