Communicate securely on the Internet with an overlay network

Keeping Secrets

© Lead Image © kanokpol prasankhamphaibun,

© Lead Image © kanokpol prasankhamphaibun,

Article from Issue 266/2023

An overlay network will help you block unwanted eavesdroppers on the Internet. We show you some of the leading open source options.

Government surveillance, attacks by criminals, and tracking by the advertising industry are raising concerns about the security and anonymity of user data. These concerns are amplified in professions where the user is legally responsible for securing communication. Several free projects have addressed these concerns by offering innovative technical approaches to anonymizing data. We decided to take a look at a few of the leading solutions.

Anonymized networks establish tunneled and encrypted connections between individual nodes, ruling out typical attack vectors, such as man-in-the-middle attacks. In the process, these anonymization solutions build a two-way point-fixed overlay network through which the participants exchange data. These solutions support common transport protocols, such as UDP or TCP, as well as the Internet layer protocols IPv4 and IPv6. In some cases, BitTorrent and blockchain technologies are also used to enable distribution of data blocks.

All solutions for anonymized Internet are based on decentralized structures. Many of the solutions, with the exception of the Tor network and those based on VPNs, depend on peer-to-peer connections that do not require centralized servers, which makes it far more difficult for attackers and authorities to access user data.


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