Starting with Tor, anonymity networks (a.k.a. “darknets”) are obviously the most popular subject here. One of the newest ones is called Lokinet, which in many ways is similar to ZeroNet, but uses some different protocols. ZeroNet, as explained in How to Access ZeroNet from Android and Other Platforms, is an anonymous P2P network that also has the ability to use Tor.
Lokinet, on the other hand, is a network that uses a LLARP (Low Latency Anonymous Routing Protocol). In their documentation, they describe this as a “…hybrid between Tor and I2P to provide additional desirable properties versus any existing routing protocol.” The idea behind LLARP is to form a fully decentralized overlay network; like ZeroNet, however, Lokinet is derived from the blockchain.
Lokinet is part of Loki, which also develops other privacy tools, such as a cryptocurrency wallet. They’re in the process of rebranding, however, to the name Oxen.io, but will still offer similar services. On the Oxen website, which is still in development, they describe it as such:
Oxen is many things. A private cryptocurrency. A secure messaging platform. A network anonymity layer. Tools to build a more private future for the Internet.
Our vision is to provide a range of tools and services powered by the $OXEN cryptocurrency, enabling users and developers all over the world to leverage the power of decentralised blockchain networks to achieve unparalleled privacy and security as they work, play, and live their day-to-day lives on the internet. And this isn’t just a vision or empty conjecture — we’ve put in the hard yards and spent years building these technologies to make our vision a reality.
Tor has had some issues in recent years with attacks on exit nodes, which are where encrypted Tor traffic reaches the internet. Lokinet’s developers say they are finding a way around this by operating without the use of directory authorities. Lokinet, instead, uses a distributed hash table (DHT), built out of blockchain staking transactions. Many anonymous P2P networks, like ZeroNet, also use DHTs, because they eliminate the need for a central server. Using this method to route packets means that the network exposes itself to a much lower attack surface.
The equivalent of Tor hidden services on Lokinet are SNApps, derived from the term “service node.” SNApps use the domain name “.loki.” For a more detailed explanation of how Lokinet works, see Lokinet: Docs. What readers are probably wondering is “How do I access it?” That, of course, varies by operating system. There are versions available for Windows, Mac and Unix/Linux systems. On Linux, there are both GUI and command line versions of Lokinet. (Note: these instructions are paraphrased from the official documentation.) To install the GUI version on Linux (or at least distros that use apt), first update package lists:
sudo apt-get update
You will see a number of package lists that are downloaded. Afterward, to get new versions of packages that are currently installed, run:
sudo apt-get upgrade
If you are asked to allow the usage of disk space, answer “Y.” You will then need to install curl if you don’t already have it.
sudo apt install curl
Now, to start the installation process, you need to set up the Lokinet repository. To add the Lokinet apt repository, run this command:
echo "deb https://deb.imaginary.stream $(lsb_release -sc) main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/imaginary.stream.list
Afterward, resync your package repositories:
sudo apt update
Finally, install Lokinet:
sudo apt install lokinet-gui
Lokinet should now be installed and running in the background. To turn Lokinet on and off, open the lokinet-gui client and press the power button.
To browse Lokinet sites, open any browser while the network is running and go to the Lokinet wiki SNApp: http://dw68y1xhptqbhcm5s8aaaip6dbopykagig5q5u1za4c7pzxto77y.loki/wiki/
According to the documentation, if you are having trouble resolving Lokinet addresses, then you may need to edit your resolve.conf files and add your DNS resolver.
Run the following command:
apt install resolvconf
systemctl restart lokinet
If the method above does not solve the issue, then add the nameserver manually by doing the following:
sudo nano /etc/resolveconf/resolve.conf.d/head
Add the following at the bottom of the file:
After that, hit CTRL-x and hit Enter to confirm the changes to the file. Then, you will need to update the /etc/resolv.conf file with this command:
sudo resolveconf -u
Finally, restart lokinet:
systemctl restart lokinet
In the official documentation, there are also guides for other platforms, as well as instructions as to how to build it from source, if that’s your preference. That being said, have you tried out Lokinet? What was your experience? Share in the comments.