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Hornet Browser Promises More Privacy At Faster Speeds Than Tor

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For those interested in anonymously surfing the web, the right browser makes all the difference, but such a browser needs speed, as well as to allow for private browsing. For example, the Tor browser uses a worldwide network of relays to hide both a user's location and surfing habits from surveillance.

Now, a new browser, Hornet, claims that it's even faster with even more security than Tor in a research paper by Hornet's developers, who are also cybersecurity experts.

"We present Hornet, a system that enables high-speed end-to-end anonymous channels by leveraging next-generation network architectures," write the authors of the paper. "Hornet is designed as a low-latency onion routing system that operates at the network layer, thus enabling a wide range of applications"

Hornet, which stands for high-speed onion routing at the network layer, is similar to Tor in that it allows secret browsing of those parts of the web where visiting could get one in trouble, such as websites for illegal drugs and arms, as well as the deep web, those parts of the web not indexed by search engines, most often accessed for illicit activities.

Tor works by hiding a user's IP address. However, a group of hackers from China recently demonstrated how to bypass that and hacked into Tor to ID its users.

Both browsers have "onion security," which means they use layers of security to leave multiple traces behind when someone surfs the web by constantly encrypting data packets as they pass through nodes to get to their destination. This makes tracking someone on the web more difficult for surveillance.

Normally, adding such layers of security would decrease browser speed, but Hornet claims that its technique with onion security is more efficient, meaning that it works as fast as standard browsers.

"We propose Hornet a scalable and high-speed onion routing scheme, for future Internet architectures," states the research paper. "Hornet nodes can process anonymous traffic at over 93 Gb/s and require no per-flow state, paving the path for Internet-scale anonymity. Our experiments show that small trade-offs in packet header size greatly benefit security, while retaining high performance."

Photo credit: Yuri Samoilov | Flickr

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