Science & Technology

Hiding Online

Your own private Internet


A "darknet" is a private online network that's invisible to the rest of the Internet. Foreign dissidents, domestic whistleblowers, jewel thieves, and other parties who have strong incentives to keep their online activities secret have been using darknets for years. But creating them currently requires cumbersome software and a fair amount of geek prowess.

That may soon change. Billy Hoffman and Matt Wood, two Hewlett-Packard employees who specialize in security and networks, have created a new browser-based darknet tool called Veiled. By their account, the software makes it much simpler to create a darknet quickly and offers easy-to-use encryption protocols. This would allow private communication clusters to form and dissolve smoothly while remaining completely hidden from other Internet users. Hoffman and Wood presented their research in late July at Black Hat USA Las Vegas, a technical security conference.

With earlier darknet tools, Wood told in June, "you have to actually install software and do a lot of configuration. It's really not easy to join and leave. Because Veiled is kind of browser-based it's really easy for people to get together and create a darknet." Close your browser, and the whole session disappears forever safe from the prying eyes of governments, corporations, or your mom.