Researchers have created a new piece of software that can be used to protect those using the Tor browser.

The Onion Router browser, also known simply as Tor, is the mainstay browser of activists, journalists and whistleblowers who wish to remain anonymous.

Using “virtual tunnels” to move users around the web, the browser offers a higher degree of anonymity compared to others, which direct traffic directly to a site.

However, all is not safe on the dark web browser. The FBI recently moved to classify an exploit that let it install location-tracking malware on a PC using the Tor browser.

For those that are on the right side of the law, this is troubling as it means that Tor no longer assures anonymity.

Researchers at TU Darmstadt and University of California Irvine might change that with a piece of software known as Selfrando.

The software uses address space layout randomisation to switch around the internal workings of an application such as Tor. This means that where

With Selfrando implemented, each time Tor is launched, the browser looks different on the inside. This makes it harder for attackers to know how to construct an attack.

According to the researchers, this process adds a 1% performance overhead but requires no additional software or tools to function.

Selfrando is the first piece of software to offer this sort of protection and should help journalists and whistleblowers who have been censored, get their message out there without fear of persecution.

[Source – Science News Journal] [Image – CC BY 2.0 Xiaojun Deng]