Tor has a storied reputation in the world of online privacy. The open-source project lets people browse the Internet more anonymously by routing their traffic across different nodes before making a final connection between their device and a desired website. It's something we've discussed previously on Lock and Code, and something that, sometimes, gets a bad reputation because of its relationship to the "dark web."
But for all the valid discussion about online anonymity, encryption, and privacy, Tor has an entirely different value proposition for people who build and maintain websites, and that is one of security. As explained by our guest Alec Muffett on today's episode of Lock and Code, hosted by David Ruiz, utilizing Tor can provide organizations with an entirely separate networking stack. And this isn't just a boon for networking diversity, but also security, Muffett explains.
Under our current system that relies on TCP/IP and HTTP (and increasingly HTTPS), whenever a user types a URL into an address bar in their web browser, multiple security risks are present. A user's traffic can be intercepted, redirected to another server, routed through another country and surveilled, and, as Muffett explained, for website operators, their DNS servers can be tampered with.
"There are so many security risks up the stack," Muffett said. "Whereas with onion networking, with Tor networking, the thing that you type into the web browser bar is the cryptographic key of the website that you want to talk to."
Today, on the Lock and Code podcast, we speak with Muffett about the security benefits of onion networking, why an organization would want to launch an onion site for its service, and whether every site in the future should utilize Tor.
You can also find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, plus whatever preferred podcast platform you use.
Show notes, resources, and credits:
Why and How you should start using Onion Networking:
How WhatsApp uses metadata analysis for spam and abuse fighting:
Alec Muffett's blog and about page
Intro Music: “Spellbound” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
Outro Music: “Good God” by Wowa (unminus.com)