A look at I2P, the invisible internet project

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The invisible internet project, known as I2P, is a darknet similar in some ways to Tor and Freenet designed to provide secure anonymous transfer of information.

I2P’s software is open source and licensed under public domain, BSD, GPL, MIT, and artistic license. It’s still in the beta testing phase despite being around since 2003. According to the I2P website, communication is end-to-end encrypted using four layers of encryption when sending messages.

According to their website, I2P has fewer developers, less funding, and much smaller user base than Tor. Because of their smaller size, they also have don’t receive as much publicity and blocking, or focus from attackers.

The big difference between I2P and Tor is that Tor is designed primarily to browse hidden web sites scattered across the internet, while I2P creates its own network that lets everyone communicate from within and run applications across.

One of the more useful features of I2P is its support of peer-to-peer file transfer through a BitTorrent client called I2PSnark.

Included in the I2P installer, there are other file sharing applications available that run through the I2P network, such as I2Phex using Gnutella protocol and iMule using Kad network protocol.

Due to its encryption and routing, torrenting over I2P is much slower and more CPU-intensive than on the clear web. Users can adjust their bandwidth setting to increase or decrease their speed if their CPU can’t handle it.

Speeds also increase the longer you stay connected to the network and the more peers involved. Even at maximum speed settings and with multiple peers, expect a significant speed tradeoff for anonymity; it may very well take days to download a few Gigabytes.

The Tin Hat lists I2P’s average speed as about 30Kb/s. I2P has its Postman Tracker which contains a list of torrents, many of which are mirrors of Pirate Bay torrents, though since it doesn’t have as many users the selection is smaller overall.

Aside from file sharing, I2P has several other useful applications.

I2P’s mailing application can be used to send emails to the clear net anonymously from the I2P network. There is also I2P Bote which allows you to send encrypted messages within the I2P network and create multiple accounts quickly. I2P also offers anonymous chat rooms, forums and few websites of its own, despite not having the variety of Tor.

To get, I2P you need to have Java installed then, download the I2P client from geti2p.net. You must then install it and run the I2P router console.

You will likely want to add a web browser specifically for use with I2P, since you will be setting up a proxy. Firefox is generally a popular choice due to Google’s information collection policies.You must next adjust the proxy settings in your browser using “HTTP Proxy:,” “Port 4444” and under No Proxy add “localhost,”

If everything worked, you should now be able to connect to the I2P network through your browser. Detailed guides can be found at thetinhat.com and ivpn.net.