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Thursday July 26 01:23 PM EDT 'Triangle Boy' Claims to Beat Internet Censorship

'Triangle Boy' Claims to Beat Internet Censorship

By Tim McDonald,

Instead of waiting for an underground hacker group to come up with anti-censorship software, an "above-ground" commercial company in Oakland, California claims it already has technology that beats security firewalls, filtering software and other forms of Internet censorship.

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The hacker collective known as Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) had been scheduled to release its own anti-censorship project, called "Peekabooty," at the recent DefCon 2001 hacker convention, but delayed the unveiling due to a need for further testing.

SafeWeb, a provider of Web-based privacy software, released the first commercially available version of a peer-to-peer application, called "Triangle Boy," last month. The company, which is reportedly partly funded by the CIA (news - web sites), said the technology prevents anyone, including corporations, governments or schools, from blocking access to banned sites.

"The main difference between Triangle Boy and Peekabooty is that Triangle Boy already exists," SafeWeb spokesperson Sandra Song told NewsFactor Network. "Peekabooty is still vaporware and not yet released."

Get Disposable Identity

Cult of the Dead Cow describes its software as a "distributed collaborative privacy network," allowing clients to evade most forms of DNS (domain name service) filtering and make Web page requests directly to a distributed server cloud.

SafeWeb said its free peer-to-peer application is the only existing technology of its kind, though other companies also specialize in Web privacy solutions. Montreal-based Zero-Knowledge Systems, for example, offers users disposable identities.

"I'm not sure what the specifics are," Song said, referring to Peekabooty, "other than it sounds like it's similar to what we already have. The rest [of the Web privacy firms] are all anonymous browsing tools, but they don't allow people to get around the firewalls. They're just simple proxy servers. They don't re-route traffic like we do."

'Spoofs' Origin Address

Users who are blocked from SafeWeb or any other site can access it through any computer that has downloaded and is running Triangle Boy. The user's Web request is then forwarded to the SafeWeb server, which returns the requested page directly to the client browser, "spoofing" the origin address so that it appears to come from the Triangle Boy host.

"Spoofing" is a trick used in denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. All communications are encrypted, the company said.

Triangle Boy is available for downloading only to those running Windows 2000 (news - web sites) and Linux (news - web sites) and who have a broadband connection.

In addition, its lack of native support for e-mail, news, chat, remote host access and other Internet functions is limiting.

Seeking Volunteers

SafeWeb is actively soliciting volunteers to download the free program, which is less than 1MB in size, from its site. The company, which gets its revenue from banner ads that users encounter when they use the site, said Triangle Boy currently "secures and delivers" about 80,000 to 95,000 Web pages a day.

The company released a test version in March, and said the current version makes it easier for volunteers to download and install.

"Now we're ready to begin a more aggressive phase to push for increased user adoption," said SafeWeb co-founder and CEO Stephen Hsu.

"We're also actively seeking sponsors and others to work with to help grow a global online privacy network."

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