The Bitcoin Privacy App and Lightning Node have been plagued with DDOS issues for most of this year as TOR, the network used by many of these applications, was under attack. In response, the team behind the MercuryWallet application decided to make the wallet work with both TOR and I2P, a decentralized network that provides anonymous communication over the internet.
Internet privacy infrastructure
TOR, short for The Onion Router, is an encrypted overlay to the Internet consisting of thousands of relays that make your network traffic untraceable. With the TOR network, IP addresses cannot be tracked like VPNs.
However, since VPNs are traditionally based on centralized providers, centralized entities may be forced to release IP addresses on their networks.
With TOR, a distributed group of volunteer nodes provides encryption, making it very difficult to trace the source IP address of a connection. Additionally, the Bitcoin Privacy App uses the TOR network to obfuscate your network activity and improve your privacy when interacting with the Bitcoin blockchain.
Throughout 2022, the TOR network suffered continuous DDOS attacks that prevented the network from operating fast enough. A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack is a sustained attack on a network in which a distributed cluster of computers pings the network at or near its capacity. Artificially created congestion slows down the network due to traffic volume.
TOR is under DDOS attack many years It’s an ongoing network issue.
The performance degradation caused on the TOR network by the aforementioned DDOS attacks affected applications utilizing the TOR network, including Bitcoin wallets such as Mercury Wallet.
MercuryWallet Privacy Solution
By making MercuryWallet application protocol agnostic, users can switch to I2P if TOR fails or is unavailable. This will allow you to continue to access your funds using your wallet even in the face of a DDOS attack against TOR.
I2P, the Invisible Internet Project, is a robust and resilient network that uses encryption and tunneling to protect user privacy and anonymity. Designed to resist attacks and censorship, it has proven to be a reliable alternative to his TOR for anonymous communication.
The success of MercuryWallet’s approach highlights the importance of applications being protocol agnostic and adapting to changing network conditions.
As DDOS attacks and other forms of online disruption become more common, applications must consider alternative networks and protocols to maintain their functionality and security.
MercuryWallet has had good results so far, with users reporting smooth and reliable performance using both TOR and I2P. Additionally, by adopting protocol agnosticism, MercuryWallet has demonstrated its commitment to providing a high-quality, secure user experience even under difficult conditions.