Tor Project Hopes to Replace 'Complex', 'Fragile' C Code With Rust

CoinDesk reports that “A project is in the works to make the Tor Client more adaptable and easier for third parties to use, with some help from Zcash Open Major Grants (ZOMG).”

ZOMG announced on Tuesday that it is awarding the privacy-focused Tor Project a $670,000 grant to continue to develop Arti, a Rust coding language implementation of the Tor Client… Arti should make it simpler for third parties to embed and customize the Tor Client than the current implementation in the C coding language… “Arti is a project to make an improved version of Tor that will be more reliable, more secure, and easier for other software to use,” said Nick Mathewson, chief network architect and co-founder of the Tor Project. “We hope that within the next several years, Arti will become the preferred implementation of the Tor protocols…”

“Onion routing has just had its 25th anniversary in May, and although Tor is a great set of privacy tools, the C program ‘tor’ itself (note the lowercase t) is beginning to show its age,” Mathewson said. "We’ve found over the recent years that the complexity of the existing C code, and the fragility of the C language, make it unnecessarily difficult to improve the code while maintaining our security and privacy guarantees…

“Roughly half of Tor’s security issues since 2016 would have been impossible in Rust, and many of the other issues would have been much less likely, based on our informal audit,” he said…

The funding will go toward developer salaries as they develop Arti. Mathewson said the goal with this round of funding is to advance Arti to the point where it is ready for general use, testing and embedding.