Hacktivismo, a politically minded offshoot of the long-running hacker collective Cult of the Dead Cow, will announce the protocol -- called "Six/Four," after the June 4, 1989 massacre in Beijing's Tiananmen Square -- in a presentation Saturday at the H2K2 hacker conference in New York City.
The group will publish the Six/Four code on its website in early August to coincide with Las Vegas' DefCon security confab.
Six/Four combines peer-to-peer technologies with virtual private networking and the "open proxy" method for masking online identities to provide ultra-anonymous Internet access.
Virtual private networks, also known as "tunnels," allow one computer to establish direct, secure communications with another over the Internet. Banks and government agencies use these VPNs all the time for money transfers and talks that they want kept quiet.
Traditional VPNs take the information along a single path from Point A to Point B. Six/Four's route is more circuitous, sending its tunnel through a series of computers on its peer-to-peer network before heading to the public Internet. Data goes from Point A to Point K to Point Z to Point G, only eventually winding up at Point B.
"It's like a highway that's redesigned for every Brinks truck that rides on it," said Oxblood Ruffin, Hacktivismo's founder.
Once this roller-coaster ride is over -- the end point is called a "trusted peer" in the Six/Four scheme -- the information then makes its way to the Web pages, chat sessions and file servers of the open Internet.
Currently, hackers and other privacy-minded folk go through "open proxies" -- misconfigured corporate servers -- to mask their identities before chatting or visiting Web pages. It's a little like snail-mailing a letter from a post office box in another state.
"Theoretically, for every server in between you and the destination server, another search warrant is required to view that computer's logs, if they still exist, to get your IP (Internet Protocol) address," said a former dot-com technology executive who's now an open-proxy devotee.
Six/Four takes this about 100 steps further by adding layer after layer of additional anonymity, because "each link in the chain only knows the link immediately before, not the final destination," said "The Mixter," the 23-year-old German hacker who authored Six/Four.
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