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(also multi-authority steered targets)

MAST definition

Multi-authority steered targets (MAST) is a method used in VPN protocols to facilitate enhanced privacy and security. It operates by enabling selective disclosure of the routing path. This means that a VPN user utilizing MAST can control and choose which authorities (usually represented as nodes or servers) have access to certain routing information, thus improving the overall privacy of the connection.

See also: onion domain, routing information protocol

MAST examples

  • The Tor network: MAST can be used in the Tor network to conceal the full path of the user’s internet traffic, revealing only necessary segments to each node.
  • VPN connections: MAST can be integrated into VPN protocols to enhance user privacy by controlling the disclosure of routing paths.

Advantages and disadvantages of MAST


  • Enhanced privacy: MAST helps improve user privacy by concealing the complete routing path from any single authority.
  • Reduced surveillance: By selectively disclosing routing information, MAST reduces the potential for surveillance by any compromised node.


  • Complexity: MAST introduces additional complexity into the VPN protocol, which might demand more processing power.
  • Network speed: The added complexity may impact network speed and performance, although it is not significant in most cases.

Using MAST

  • Ensure your VPN provider supports MAST for an enhanced level of privacy.
  • Understand the implications of selective routing information disclosure to maximize the benefits of MAST.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security