Could HORNET Replace TOR?

That’s the question that I found in my inbox this weekend “Could HORNET eventually replace TOR?”.  To be perfectly honest I hadn’t heard of the HORNET browser yet.  Thanks to a VPN Fan reader I was introduced to an article that Ars Technica wrote on the topic last Friday.  It’s an interesting read with a link to the research paper that explains the new technology.  In short HORNET is presented as a faster, more secure alternative to TOR.

HORNET browser

Lets start out with some definitions and a brief explanation of the technology.  HORNET stands for High Speed Onion Routing at the NETwork layer.  Researchers including Chen Chen, Daniele Enrico Asoni, David Barrera, and Adrian Perrig from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) and George Danezis of University College London wrote a paper (linked above) outlining the new technology.  The research paper presents HORNET as a faster, more private alternative to the TOR browser.

Back to the question of whether or not HORNET could replace TOR.  Without a crystal ball that is impossible to answer but in time something is sure to replace TOR.  The speed of technological innovation leaves no doubt that developers will continue to push the boundaries and improve the current tools we rely upon for online privavcy.  Perhaps HORNET will be the next solution.  TOR could also surprise with some of the same features moving forward.  Then again we could hear about something new tomorrow.  That’s the fun part of covering technology.  The pace of change will only get faster as we move forward.

I sugget you check out the article from Ars Technica.  It does a good job of explaining the technology behind HORNET.  Both TOR and HORNET are onion routers.  They use the word onion to denote that layers of encryption are used on the network.  Basically each node decrypts a layer and sends it on to the next node.  This gives users a higher level of privacy.  Performance has always been the trade off for users of TOR.  The network will help you stay anonymous but it comes with a much slower connection.  HORNET promises a faster, more secure experience.  Time will tell whether or not it can deliver on that promise.