Modernizing the Tor Ecosystem

Alexander Færøy

Playlists: 'bornhack2022' videos starting here / audio

In this presentation, we will be updating the audience on the ongoing modernization efforts of the software developed inside The Tor Project -- the organization behind the most widely deployed anonymity network on this planet. We will look at upcoming features and changes to the core technology that drives the Tor network and why a Browser may no longer be the only product we have to provide for the user-base that is so crucial in need of Tor's anonymity properties for safe internet access.

The Tor ecosystem is currently going through a more extensive modernization phase where we are simplifying our goals slightly to make space for larger projects that we find necessary.

This work includes implementing a new, more memory-safe Tor implementation in the Rust programming language named Arti. This work will make it easier for application developers to integrate their applications and benefit from the safety features that Tor can provide.

Additionally, we will talk about some recent or upcoming changes to the network:

- Give a status update on deploying modern congestion control algorithms in the Tor network. This work should significantly enhance the performance barrier that most Tor users experience.
- The roadmap towards UDP support in the client and relay software. This work should allow more modern use-cases of the Tor software such as voice and video communication, WebRTC, and other protocols that leverage datagram-based data transfer.
- Move to more modern cryptography in Tor's protocols, including support for Post-quantum cryptography and why this is needed.
- Allowing Tor users to access the network using a VPN-like tunneling mechanism as an alternative to simply web-browsing and other socks5 enabled applications.