by Natsuya Uesugi
The anonymous Tor network allows users to visit Internet sites without their trail being recorded. A new development has come out of Russia which is looking to determine the identities of those using Tor. Snowden the so called whistleblower who released government information has been known to use Tor. The government like the NSA and GCHQ in the UK have tried to undo the puzzle of anonymity that Tor provides.
Tor cloaks internet user’s identities and locations by sending data randomly through networked machines. The traffic is encrypted as the data is sent on its path through the network.
Tor got some prestige due to the information that was leaked regarding the NSA and government spying on people and gathering data through data mining.
In the grydscaen series Acolyte is seen in grydscaen: tribute sending encrypted information between the Packrat Sprawl and the headquarters of the Terror Hack. This encrypted connection allows them to communicate securely. Acolyte asks Mage from the Terror Hack to check the packets and the private-public key pairs to ensure that the transmission is secure.
Tor was originally developed by the US Naval Research Laboratory. In grydscaen the traffic is seen as bouncing off various satellites and other IP addresses every few second so that it cannot be traced because the bounce is too fast.
The Packrats and the Terror Hack need to ensure that their communications are secure based on the sensitivity of the information that they are sharing with the public. They are essentially whistleblowers although the government would see them as cyber terrorists.
The fact that traffic on the internet is tracked brings up a question that is addressed in grydscaen about what is private and what is public for the government to know. Due to the fact that the government can track you through your Echelons ID or your citcard if you are in the City there is no place that you can go where you are free of their view. There are a very few places in the Echelons that don’t have monitors which watch you but they are few and far between. The short story “Know Thyself” in grydscaen: tribute and the short story “Simulatrix” talks about the monitors but again they are everywhere and hard to avoid.
The Russian government is paying a bounty to subvert the anonymity of Tor and to crack the code that let people get away untracked. At this time Tor has been able to keep its secrets but soon it might end up being difficult to do so.
Grydscaen addresses this idea of anonymity and secure traffic through the gridscan through the Packrats and their exploits. Even the data messengers that rely on the gridscan to get out their messages still need to meet up in real life to pass off the data. Sites in the gridscan that let them do this anonmyously are highly popular and are frequented by the Packrats.
With the encrypted key SSL, SFTP and other protocols we can see today that we can secure information transfer. grydscaen just brings this to light in its story.