“Vuvuzela” SMS Text Messaging System More Secure Than Tor

MIT researchers claim they have developed “Vuvuzela” SMS Text Messaging System which is way more secure than Tor and provides guaranteed untraceable communication.

The researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a messaging system that is, even more, secure than Tor and in reality, can create anonymous connections — Earlier this year, MIT and Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) exposed the Tor network by identifying hidden servers of Tor with 88 percent accuracy.

The researchers were so successful due to their analysis on the directions in which different packets went through Tor nodes. They had 99 percent accuracy rate in revealing what the circuit was about either if it was a web browsing request, an introduction point or a rendezvous point (used when another user wants to connect to the same hidden server).

Learning from this, MIT scientists with the help of Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed “Vuvuzela” system that will allow messages to be exchanged at the rate of about one per minute.

The main difference

What’s different about their system is that it doesn’t allow anyone to develop patterns and make their way to the original servers and unlike Tor this system has been proven mathematically by the researchers in a public available paper “Scalable Private Messaging Resistant to Traffic Analysis”.

So, in order to make the system works each user leaves a message on predefined location like on an internet connected dread-drop server and other person retrieves the message. For instance, if there were three people on the system and now only two of them are exchanging messages it would look obvious that these two people are exchanging messages on the server this way it would be easy to make a pattern.

But, in this system, there is regular sending of user messages (with or without any information) to the dead drop server, which to anyone analyzing patterns makes the traffic on the server look like it’s coming from multiple locations all the time.

That’s not it, though, because if a hacker infiltrate the dead-drop server he can identify the real users and the location for the message so to make this system perfect there are three different servers used with three layers of encryption to make it virtually impossible for the hackers to look into the users or messages communicated.

Servers Jumbled up

Servers are also programmed in a way that they are difficult to understand for anyone like the first server comes with first layer of encryption on the messages which are deliberately not ordered in the way originally sent by the users, the second server does the same only the third server has everything in a way the end-user wants to have.

MIT researchers believe until all the three servers are compromised the messages are well protected in the system.

“Tor operates under the assumption that there’s not a global adversary that’s paying attention to every single link in the world,” said Nickolai Zeldovich, an associate professor of computer science and engineering, and co-leader of the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems group at CSAIL.

“Maybe these days this is not as good of an assumption. Tor also assumes that no single bad guy controls a large number of nodes in their system. We’re also now thinking, maybe there are people who can compromise half of your servers.”

In the past, the MIT researchers also developed ProtonMail email platform and vowed to provide 100% security from NSA snooping.

MIT News


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