But…How Do I Go Deeper?

If I had asked that question to a bunch of fifth graders, I can only imagine how much snickering I would get.

Dirty jokes aside, when people contact me, these are often the types of questions they ask. I was chatting on MadIRC this morning (as usual), and some of us were joking about Marianas Web.

I’ve attempted several times to debunk the idea altogether, and as far as I’m concerned, no such thing exists. Be that as it may, there are quite a few other anonymity networks besides Tor, some of which I’ve talked about before (like I2P and Freenet). Is there anything else? Sure. Why don’t we include those here?

ZeroNet

ZeroNet, which I’ve only discussed in passing, is a peer-to-peer (P2P) anonymity network, whose creator is Tamas Kocsis (I only just learned this, as a matter of fact). He does a TED Talk related to this here:

ZeroNet uses the same type of cryptography as bitcoin, as well as the BitTorrent network, as its framework. In addition, it can route traffic through Tor (to improve its anonymity).

In terms of its user experience, it feels quite different from Tor; it’s more similar to Freenet in this respect. You simply connect to it, and then you can access the sites from your “normal” browser like Chrome or Firefox (though you can do this with Tor as well – did you know?).

One major difference between ZeroNet and Tor is that ZeroNet is password-less (and if you’ve used Tor, you would know that you still have to memorize quite a few passwords!). Instead, ZeroNet uses BIP32 authorization, which is also used by bitcoin.

If you have a bitcoin wallet, you may be familiar with the process of generating a “seed” for the wallet. The seed is, essentially, a set of random words that can be cryptographically converted into the root private key for your bitcoin wallet. The seed might look something like this:

behavior meaty paint telephone sponge omniscient

The same is true of BIP32 when used with ZeroNet. These types of keys are the way that ZeroNet authenticates users, rather than a password that you’d make up off the top of your head.

Like Tor, ZeroNet has all sorts of sites: forums, chat rooms, blogs, email clients, and video sharing. On the other hand, ZeroNet can be accessed locally even if you aren’t connected to the internet (awesome, right?). Some other P2P networks give you this option as well.

If you want to read about it in more detail, here’s some of the documentation: ZeroNet – Decentralized p2p web platform

anoNet

I mentioned anonet in the post Featured Site: hacking.allowed, because the site’s creator also had an anonet site, apparently.

anoNet, as opposed to Tor and ZeroNet, uses a combination of different technologies to function. Among these are OpenVPN, tinc, QuickTun, Quagga, and BIRD. (Confused yet? I shall clarify.)

OpenVPN and QuickTun are used to connect the nodes in the network to one another. Quagga and BIRD function as a way of exchanging routing information with users who volunteer as a “super node,” which allows the rest of the users on the network to connect to each other.

I confess that I have yet to actually use anoNet, but it’s on my “darknet bucket list.” In concept, it seems somewhat similar to ChaosVPN (which is also a VPN-based network).

If you’re just someone who’s looking for dark and creepy stuff, I have a feeling that anoNet would end up being boring. Having used some other P2P networks, most of the sites that I’ve come across tend to be technological or political in nature.

These are only two examples of many, but a lot of the other networks that exist are similar in principle. Quite a few are anonymous P2P networks, which use different forms of cryptography and authentication. Their features usually include things like messaging, forums, file sharing, and group chat.

If, however, you’re hoping to find some esoteric secrets about aliens and the Vatican archives, I doubt you’ll find them here.

Just a thought.

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