Although they don’t garner as much attention from the consumer end of the tech spectrum, security conferences are actually pivotal to the overall health of modern technology. Exposing flaws and lapses in both software and hardware, they greatly benefit the wider ecosystem, and whether you’re a jailbreaker, modder or out-and-out hacker, your staple tech diet is in some way affected by the world of security exploits.
If you like to keep abreast of the goings-on in the security world, you will, for example, know that BlackHat just passed in Las Vegas, with Def Con now upon us, CloudFlare’s Ryan Lackey and Lookout Security’s Marc Rogers have taken to the stage to showcase a pretty neat, router-based trick.
OPSEC is a common buzzword used in the security world to describe operational security fails, and at Def Con, the pairing took to the stage to describe an OPSEC that could actually work to the benefit of the everyday user.
Sure, the world of digital security is laden with exclusive jargon way beyond the layman, but the collective’s Personal Onion Router To Assure Liberty (PORTAL) is designed in such a way that it provides always-on Tor routing. Simply put, Internet traffic can be conveniently hidden, and while it’s not designed to protect those partaking in illegal or distasteful activity, it’s certainly a win for those concerned with the preservation of privacy.
As Lackey notes, traditional VPNs do offer a level of privacy, but lack the ability to provide proper anonymity, but the Tor factor of this newly-disclosed endeavor takes real-world router protection to the next level.
At a time when the digital world is living in fear of NSA scare stories, it’s certainly encouraging to know that we, the everyday users, can seek protection by such means.
Tor has long since provided a blanket of obscurity against spies and the powers that be, and even though the world of tech continues to evolve with each year that passes by, Lackey and Rogers have demonstrated that it’s still as pivotal as ever in the preservation of private data trafficking.
PORTAL is currently a GitHub project rather than a piece of hardware that can be obtained, therefore isn’t exactly ubiquitous. However, the team is working on a distributable solution, and we’ll certainly be keeping tabs on its progress.