HORNET, the alternative to Tor Network

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When we think about surfing the Internet, most people are looking at just the top of the network iceberg. When in fact, the web actually holds a “Deep Web,” hidden from everyday users and ordinary browsers. This is due to the Deep Web continuously encrypting user data. Due to the constant encryption, this makes the browsing speeds dramatically slower. Just over 2 million users utilize the “Tor Network” in order to search the Deep Web. However, with so many active users utilizing this dark network, extremely slow browsing speeds are a result.


Aiming to optimize the anonymity of these networks, five researchers have presented the most optimizable solution in relations to TorNet. In comparison to anonymity networks such TorNet, The HORNET application demonstrates more resistance to attacks found in the Deep Web, and will provide users with faster Node speeds. In the paper written by the research team, they say:

Unlike other onion routing implementations, HORNET routers do net keep per-flow state or perform computationally expensive operations for data forwarding, allowing the system to scale as new clients are added.”

Hornet: High-Speed Onion Routing at Network Layer was written by all members of the research team, including Chen Chen from Carnegie Mellon University, David Barrera, Enrico Asoni, Adrian Perrig from the Adrian Perrig of Zurich’s Federal Institute of Technology, and George Danezies from the University College of London. Together these great minds presented a research paper in order to act as a guideline for the team to start the production of the newly anticipated anonymous network browsing tool.


Within the research paper, the team’s research provided an anonymous network capable of reaching speeds exceeding Tor Network; HORNET will not encrypt its users data as often. Instead, the network will encrypt only personal information instead of a blanket ‘everything.’

Tor is known as “The Onion Router” for a reason. In order for Tor to remain in anonymity, Tor will take data and pass it through a series of other computers before reaching the final destination. Every time data is shifted from one computer to another, the encryption will proceed to exist and the IP address changes; hence why Tor Network is slower, with their multilayer networking system. Now, imagine 2 million people per day utilizing the same system… Each computer is capable of handling x-amount of work loads, so when you switch on, you essentially have to “wait-in-line” before connecting to your designated landing page.

As we look into the ‘bare-basic’ architecture of both Tor and HORNET, both implement the same onion routing techniques. However, HORNET will actual create an encryption key that will be set along with the routing information in your system. Thus, resulting the intermediate nodes in which are not needed in order to build the information each time. As each set of keys are created, your connection state information will then be sent within packet headers. These packet headers are either anonymous header or AHDR.

If the team will be able to fully create the best alternative to Tor Network, we could be looking at reaching the bottom of the deep web, with speeds nearly as fast as Google Search.

Looking further into the teams research paper, we realize that looking at the whole system it actually is more secure, as other intermediate computers will not have to spend time playing around with the sender’s and receiver’s packets. In return, extensive peer review is needed in order to adapt the HORNET system.

You can read the teams research paper online, or download it for offline reading from:
HORNET: High-speed Onion Routing at the Network Layer

This article (HORNET, the alternative to Tor Network!) is a free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and AnonHQ.com


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  1. Anonymous is FAKE, a creation of the CIA & Hollywood. Why else would you be going after Donald Trump—the only chance America has?


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