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Current Remailer scene

Current Remailer scene

From:
Steve Crook
Date:
2011-07-07 @ 11:32
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Hi all,

As one of the current remailer operators of Mixmaster and Mixminion, I
thought it might be useful to paint a picture of what's in active use at
the moment.

Despite Mixmaster having superseded Cypherpunk (Type-I) for anonymous
email, Type-I is still very much alive thanks to its Reply-Block
functionality that's missing from Mixmaster. Currently there are 13
active servers of which 8 have exit capabilities.

Mixmaster is the most popular remailer network at this time.  There are
19 active servers with 8 of them being exits. Despite being the most
popular, server numbers have fallen over the last few years and there
are less than half as many compared to its peek time.  Development of
Mixmaster has all but ceased and I think this is at least partially to
blame for the decline in numbers.

Mixminion stirred a lot of interest during Nick's development of it but
has now become fairly dormant.  There are 6 remaining active nodes in
the directory but to my knowledge, few people are using them. I'm
confident that active development of it will rekindle interest.

Lastly, there are 3 active Nymservers.  Two of these rely on Type-I to
deliver messages.  As Nick pointed out in another thread, confidence in
using Type-I for delivery to mailboxes is low.  Consequently
Reply-Blocks are usually constructed to drop messages into Usenet at
alt.anonymous.messages.  Various tools have sprung up over the years to
enable people to retrieve messages from there. The third Nymserver has
no dependence on Type-I and will only drop messages into a.a.m.

In summary, the remailer scene is pretty fragmented. There are three
generations of technologies in use, none of them under active
development.  Each brings slightly different functionality to the
community which dictates their ongoing parallel existence.  Each of them
also has weaknesses in terms of anonymity and/or reliability.  Getting
everyone on a single, supported solution would be a major achievement.

Steve
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Re: [remailer] Current Remailer scene

From:
Patrick R McDonald
Date:
2011-07-07 @ 13:16
On Thu, Jul 07, 2011 at 12:32:34PM +0100, Steve Crook wrote:
> Hi all,
> 
> As one of the current remailer operators of Mixmaster and Mixminion, I
> thought it might be useful to paint a picture of what's in active use at
> the moment.
> 
> Despite Mixmaster having superseded Cypherpunk (Type-I) for anonymous
> email, Type-I is still very much alive thanks to its Reply-Block
> functionality that's missing from Mixmaster. Currently there are 13
> active servers of which 8 have exit capabilities.
> 
> Mixmaster is the most popular remailer network at this time.  There are
> 19 active servers with 8 of them being exits. Despite being the most
> popular, server numbers have fallen over the last few years and there
> are less than half as many compared to its peek time.  Development of
> Mixmaster has all but ceased and I think this is at least partially to
> blame for the decline in numbers.

I made a post today to John Simpson's qmail-patch list today hoping to
encourage the email admins who use the list to run mixmaster remailers.
Hopefully this will increase the number of mixmaster nodes.  I agree the
lack of development is partially to blame.  However, I also believe
mixmaster could use an active PR campaign.

Previous people whom I have encouraged into running mixmaster are off
put by the lack of documentation and the trolls who frequent
alt.privacy.anon-server.  I think if we actively campaign for mixmaster
through solid documentation and active engagment in crypto and email
communities, this number will rise.

> Mixminion stirred a lot of interest during Nick's development of it but
> has now become fairly dormant.  There are 6 remaining active nodes in
> the directory but to my knowledge, few people are using them. I'm
> confident that active development of it will rekindle interest.

This is completely spot on.  I deployed a mixminion node for a bit, but
shut it down due to lack of development and use.  I believe Mixminion
should be the solution to resolve the fragmentation between Type-I and
Type-II remailers.

> Lastly, there are 3 active Nymservers.  Two of these rely on Type-I to
> deliver messages.  As Nick pointed out in another thread, confidence in
> using Type-I for delivery to mailboxes is low.  Consequently
> Reply-Blocks are usually constructed to drop messages into Usenet at
> alt.anonymous.messages.  Various tools have sprung up over the years to
> enable people to retrieve messages from there. The third Nymserver has
> no dependence on Type-I and will only drop messages into a.a.m.

I am impressed by your nymserver (the third) and will be actively
deploying it (if work and kids allow) by the end of the month.
Sirvailance is also exploring the nymserver code as well.
 
> In summary, the remailer scene is pretty fragmented. There are three
> generations of technologies in use, none of them under active
> development.  Each brings slightly different functionality to the
> community which dictates their ongoing parallel existence.  Each of them
> also has weaknesses in terms of anonymity and/or reliability.  Getting
> everyone on a single, supported solution would be a major achievement.
> 
> Steve

-- 
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| Patrick R. McDonald                       GPG Key: 668AA5DF  |                
| https://www.antagonism.org/         <marlowe@antagonism.org> |                
|                               <mcdonald.patrick.r@gmail.com> |                
|                         <patrick@opensecurityfoundation.org> |                
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