Home Researchers to Debut “Veiled,” the Darknet Powered by a Web Browser

Researchers to Debut “Veiled,” the Darknet Powered by a Web Browser

At next month’s Black Hat USA conference in Las Vegas, two HP researchers are going to demonstrate “Veiled,” a new type of darknet created within a web browser and built exclusively for the purpose of secure, anonymous web surfing and online communication. The darknet, created using just PHP and JavaScript, works with any HTML-5 browser allowing its users to avoid web monitoring and online censorship.

“Darknets” are nothing new. The term refers to any sort of closed and private communications network. The most commonly used darknets in existence today include the file-sharing networks like Gnutella and Freenet as well as the network created by using Tor, software that implements “onion routing,” a type of routing which bounces your communications through a distributed network of relays so web sites can’t determine your physical location. Tor is well-known for allowing citizens of oppressive regimes to navigate around their country’s internet filtering software and firewalls. It’s likely that it’s in use right now in Iran, as the protests over the presidential election results continue, having led the government to heavily censor the country’s internet access. 

However, the problem with Tor and other types of internet anonymizers is that they require a bit of technical know-how in order to implement it…that is, if you even know they exist. That’s why what Veiled will offer is so…well…revolutionary. Even the least savvy internet users can use a web browser and that’s the only “technical” savvy needed. There is no extra software required.

According to security site Dark Reading, Veiled will connect the user’s HTML-5-based web browser to a single PHP file which downloads some JavaScript code into the browser. Pieces of the files are spread among the members of the Veiled darknet, but not through traditional peer-to-peer technology. Instead, Veiled uses a series of repeaters. Senior Security Researcher, Matt Web, in HP’s Web Security Research Group says, “it’s a file on a web server, but I can also host one on my web site, for example, and we can join those two files together.” He goes on to say, “It’s very distributed.”

He and his fellow researcher, Billy Hoffman, Manager for HP Security Labs at HP Software, have also confirmed that encryption will also be built into the network to allow for secure and anonymous communications.

Although darknets are often used by online criminals to cover their tracks, the researchers would rather focus on the positive aspects of their software, noting that it could be used for secure whistle-blowing and other forms of free speech.

Image credit: flickr user Xeni

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.