Learn about the different types of BelNet clients, BNS domains, MNApps and the BelNet namespace.
BelNet is an onion routing protocol. Like all onion routing protocols, BelNet anonymizes your internet traffic.
However, most onion routers have some aspect of centralization or leak data in one way or another. We mean it when we say it’s an extremely arduous affair to build an onion router that doesn’t have a centralized registry of routers and exit nodes. Then, there’s the issue of security. If we’re not careful, issues such as DNS leaks and certain 0 day vulnerabilities can expose a person’s true IP address and location.
So, in addition to privacy, an onion router has the following problems to address,
- Building a large and distributed community for self-sufficiency
Let’s take a closer look at how BelNet handles each of these issues.
Censorship is the number one concern plaguing the VPN industry. As long as there is the intent to enforce restrictions, there can be no true freedom. Censorship begins with centralization. When a service is offered by a centralized entity with a known physical location and a single point of failure (an organization or its shareholders in this case), the entity is susceptible to domination by other companies and organizations with vested interests.
For example, if you take certain free VPNs, their business model entails that they profit from selling your data in order to keep their business afloat.
On the other hand, if you consider countries with poor internet freedom index, VPN businesses are left with two choices. They either need to share the information about their users with regulators or leave the country. Most chose the latter when India demanded VPN services to “collect and share data”.
The use of some VPN services are also illegal in certain jurisdictions such as China and North Korea.
Thus, removing centralization from VPNs is essential to building a censorship-free service. What we are in need of is not a centralized VPN service provider but a decentralized community run service that doesn’t require your personal information.
BelNet bridges this gap. It is an open-source, censorship-resistant dVPN service that is run and operated by the community.
Centralization, as we’ve already seen, leads to censorship. But there are far more privacy implications of centralization than what meets the naked eye.
When you willfully hand over your personal data by agreeing to certain terms in return for using a service, you forfeit your control over your data.
While there are laws like the GDPR in place to retrieve, modify, or delete the use of your personal data, the short while before which you’re able to request for deletion is all that’s needed to compromise your privacy. Besides, most countries do not have internet privacy laws yet which makes it even more difficult to handle issues related to abuse of private information.
Centralized systems also have a centralized point of failure which leads us to the next issue, security.
VPNs protect you from hackers and malicious individuals online, or do they?
Lots of services, including VPNs, have innate vulnerabilities that render them the perfect target for hackers.
While some address these vulnerabilities early on, some don’t even know they exist until scores of user data have been lost. Remember the Optus data breach or the countless other zero day exploits on supposedly secure VPNs?
Some of these vulnerabilities are possible because there is a direct link between the client and the VPN server through API calls.
What if we introduced onion routing through distributed and decentralized nodes that obfuscated the link between the client and the server?
That’s exactly what BelNet does. Your connection remains private. Not even the nodes on the network know where the request originates from or where it’s headed. All that one node does is pass on the information to the next node using onion encryption and decryption.
This offers greater security to BelNet clients than any other VPN clients.
The most important aspect of all for a dVPN is a passionate and ardent community that supports its growth and development.
The community can help the growth of the BelNet dVPN by setting up masternodes and exit nodes. Masternodes act as routers that transport your traffic from the source to the exit node. Exit nodes redirect your traffic to the correct destination. Thus, these nodes are critical to the functioning of the BelNet dVPN.
Right now, there are 20 official exit nodes on the BelNet app. 3 exit nodes are hosted by the Beldex foundation while 17 are hosted by community contributors.
While the official nodes are limited to 20, anyone can operate an exit node and add it to the BelNet app using the ‘Add Exit Node’ feature for their personal use.
The exit nodes offer BelNet the functionality of a dVPN. They are the bridges that connect BelNet to the clearnet. However, BelNet can be used for much more than just anonymously surfing the Internet. The BelNet namespace, BelNet domains, and MNApps all help host private web and mobile applications within BelNet.
BelNet clients are mobile and desktop devices that help connect to the BelNet. Any device that has the BelNet app installed can act as a BelNet client.
You can connect to BelNet by downloading the BelNet mobile and desktop applications from the links below
Download BelNet for Windows
You can download BelNet for Windows from belnet.beldex.io or from the direct download link provided below:
Install BelNet for Linux
You can install BelNet for Linux using the guide provided in the link below
The BelNet Namespace
The BelNet namespace acts as a domain name registrar for BelNet domains. It holds the record of all the registered BNS domains on BelNet and their corresponding BelNet addresses.
As discussed earlier, the BelNet domains are private domains that can be used to host web and mobile applications within BelNet. These web and mobile applications on BelNet are called MNApps.
MNApps are highly secure, private, and free of censorship.
MNApps are hosted using BelNet addresses and BNS domains.
Advantages of BelNet domains
Privacy: Since they’re hosted behind an onion network, their IP cannot be tracked or traced. The ownership of the domain remains private — it is not visible to anyone on BelNet or the Internet. Thus, normal attack vectors such as content defacing, IP forwarding, SQL injection and cross-site scripting are minimized or prevented.
How are they censorship-free?
Well, you solely own the domain that you register / subscribe to on BelNet. For the period of registration, no one else holds the ownership of the domain. Unlike centralized domain name systems, no one can withhold, block, or prevent you from hosting your website (MNApp) on BelNet.
Examples of BelNet Domains
Some of the examples of BelNet domains include,
Notice that all the BNS domains end with the extension .bdx
BelNet domains are human-readable and can be easily memorized. This helps users access your MNApp on BelNet.
For example, the following BelNet address hosts the Beldex explorer.
Since this is long and complex, the operator of this domain can buy a simple human-readable BNS domain such as https://explorer.bdx and tag it to the above BelNet address.
Thus, whenever someone is visiting the URL using a web browser https://explorer.bdx, they would be able to access the website that is hosted on http://675wmqqbzg6nqs688e1n3bti6ter4kt5q4u5bs1c4quutpnyxsxy.bdx/.
MNApps are web and mobile apps hosted on BelNet. They can range anything from a news platform to a social network or even a crypto exchange hosted on BelNet.
A few other example of MNApps that the community can host on BelNet include,
- Email Clients
- Search Engines
- Web & mobile wallets
- Personal websites
- Other private services
Note that you will need to be connected to BelNet to access an MNApp.
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