Anonymity Network

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What Does Anonymity Network Mean?

An anonymity network enables users to access the Web while blocking any tracking or tracing of their identity on the Internet. This type of online anonymity moves Internet traffic through a worldwide network of volunteer servers. Anonymity networks prevent traffic analysis and network surveillance – or at least make it more difficult.

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Techopedia Explains Anonymity Network

One open-source anonymity software free to public use is known as Tor. Tor software conceals the user’s location and/or usage. Another anonymity network is Freenet, which enables users to anonymously publish “freesites” as well as share files and chat on forums. Still another anonymity network is I2P. I2P identity-sensitive networks are at once distributed and dynamic in nature and they route traffic through other peers.

In order to use Tor, users must run onion routing. This technology encrypts and then rebounds communications onto a network of relays run by volunteers throughout the world. Users who want their Internet searches to remain private use anonymity networking, sometimes even adding a secure VPN service alongside it. Within the Tor network, Internet traffic is sent to various routers, one at a time. The Tor node, or exit relay, shows up as the actual communication originator rather than the sender.

Even though Tor prevents traffic analysis, it does not guard against traffic confirmation, or end-to-end correlation and tests. At the 2005 IEEE Symposium, Steven Murdoch and George Danezis presented an article on security as it relates to traffic-analysis techniques. In their article, they demonstrated that anonymity networks permit partial network views, thereby making it possible to infer which nodes are being used for anonymous stream relays.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.