Hornet gives wings to Onion privacy technlogy

European researchers may have stumbled upon a new anonymised internet browser that is like Tor on rocket fuel.

Hornet, or high-speed onion routing at the network layer to give it its full name, can move internet traffic at some 93Gbps and still offer the same level of protection as the sluggish Tor network, according to Ars Technica.

The new method appears in a paper penned by a group of researchers that includes Chen Chen, Daniele Enrico Asoni, David Barrera and Andrew Perrig from the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich and George Danezis of University College London.

It works in a similar way to Tor in that the traffic is encrypted in "Onions" that mean each layer is decrypted by each node that the traffic passes over. Hornet differs slightly in that two Onion protocols are used to keep anonymity under wraps when communicating with the open internet.

An attractive option

Communication within two sites on the Hornet network, meanwhile, is protected by a modified version of Tor's "rendezvous point".

The researchers explained that this allows any node to act as the point of communication to make sure the source and destination of the traffic remains completely anonymous. Testing also showed that Hornet routing nodes can be embedded into network routers.

Hornet could prove an attractive option for internet users that are becoming more and more paranoid about privacy whilst at the same time wanting speeds to keep climbing at the current levels.