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One core cypherpunks technology is anonymized Internet connectivity. A variety of technologies exist that offer varying degrees of anonymity for interactive IP protocols.

The more interactive the protocol and the more general the solution, the more complicated both the science and engineering of anonymized IP becomes. While a few solutions have come close to providing anonymized raw IP, none so far have reached this goal.

cypherpunks are working very actively on increasing the utility and security of several approaches to the problem of anonymous IP.

Remailers

The first anonymizing technology deployed by Cypherpunks were anonymous remailers, permitting the user to send email anonymously and securely. Since email is not really an interactive protocol, remailers are not covered in this section. See the cypherpunks remailer page for more information about remailers.

WWW

By far the best solution to anonymizing WWW traffic available today is The Onion Router (Tor).

A large number of solutions of varying security have been suggested and fielded that claim to offer the user anonymous web browsing or web publishing. Some, such as the Anonymizer, have been around for while, but require you to fully trust their operators. Others, such as SafeWeb, have been shown to be insecure even to the casual user. Many others, once fueling the community's interest by hype, such as Freedom.net, never even fully got off the ground and have ceased to exist.

Raw IP

A universal solution that offers uncompromisable privacy for any arbitrary protocol running on top of IP remains an elusive goal and very active area of research for cypherpunks.

One thing we know for fact: to provide such privacy requires link padding, in which the user transmits a payload-independent stream of data. Without link padding, an attacker will always be able to compromise the user's privacy. Though link-padding alone may not be sufficient to guarantee a user's privacy.

Pipe-net was the first paper explaining why link padding is required.

The folks at the US Navy Naval Research Laboratory initially questioned cypherpunks' claims that link padding is required. Soon, NRL's research proved in graphical detail that link padding is indispensable.

An Open Source outgrowth of the NRL project is The Onion Router (Tor), which is what cypherpunks use to anonymize TCP connections today.

cypherpunks continue to work on IP anonymizing implementations that are both secure and efficient.

 


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