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Re: Reduce hops when privacy level allows to save Tor network bandwidth

On Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 11:48 AM, Erilenz <erilenz@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
* on the Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 09:03:42AM -0500, Andrew Lewman wrote:
> On 11/17/2009 08:57 AM, Erilenz wrote:
> > The following occured to me. Tor is designed to protect users from
> > traffic analysis by very technical adversaries. There are many use
> > cases where that level of protection isn't required. In those cases,
> > if there was a config option to reduce the number of hops in a circuit
> > to 2 (or possibly even 1), then users would be able to get themselves a
> > more responsive circuit, whilst saving the Tor network overall
> > bandwidth.
> People who don't want strong anonymity should use VPNS, single-hop proxy
> providers, or setup an ssh tunnel somewhere.

Yes, they should. However, just because people shouldn't be doing something
doesn't mean you should ignore the fact that they are.


Responding to a deficiency in an area which Tor does not attempt to solve is a poor use of resources. Tor is a strong-anonymizing proxy. Three hops is the minimum necessary to ensure a proper degree of anonymity. There are severe deficiencies with only using one or two hops insofar as anonymity is concerned. Using more than 3 is problematic from a network utilization standpoint. Thus the magic number, three.

"There are many use cases where that level of protection isn't required." -- In that case, use a tool better suited to your goals.

Now, if you were interested in coding this piece, and you felt it a good use of your resources, then it might be worthwhile. However, remember that every choice given to the end user is a chance for the end user to make a bad or misinformed decision. Tor has bandwidth issues that come with multiple routing hops. Many users "just want Tor faster", but often are not savvy enough to understand that reducing the number of hops, even by one, severely limits the Tor's ability to hamper tracking efforts. As such many may choose to reduce their hops, and get faster usage, but falsely believe that just because it is still "Tor", they can't be tracked.

Marcus Griep
Ακακια את.ψο´, 3°