A day or two ago, someone on the forums brought up concerns over Zeronet's resistance to attacks and takedowns, specifically regarding its reliance on trackers. My original response is still there (quoted in somebody else's comment), but I've also moved it here for two reasons: so that I can elaborate on it, and to save precious space on Zerotalk. Here it is:
Okay. I have a few things to say.
First: There is no such thing as 'safe', only safer. The same goes for 'uncensorable' and other similar words. Focusing only on the scariest sounding scenarios is flawed thinking (like how some people are scared of being killed by lightning--despite stroke and heart disease being thousands of times more common). If you are concerned, Analyze and inspect the possibilities, but keep yourself grounded in reality.
Piggybacking off the torrent infrastructure eliminates a much more concerning what-if situation: 'what if we were using a custom zeronet-only tracking system and most of it was taken down?' Instead, everyone who keeps torrent trackers online is also keeping Zeronet online, regardless of if they even know that Zeronet exists.
There are a lot of trackers in operation, some in countries that are much less vulnerable than others. Technically, this kind of doomsday situation could still happen, and a worldwide shutdown could be put in place--But It would be much more impractical. Not only would locating and catching them all spread this hypothetical enemy's resources very thin (and spark worldwide outrage that they would prefer not to deal with), but it would buy everyone else time to put up even more. Trackers are targets, but they are targets with a massive social shield in front of them.
But again, that's an extreme hypothetical situation. It's best to put effort into what's likely instead of wasting it on things that might never happen. Here are a few relevant things:
1. If possible, donate to help develop DHT Functionality.
2. If you can, actually help develop it (or recruit someone that can help).
3. Same for i2p support.
4. Keep tabs on what trackers are up (but not too obsessively, because we already have people for that).
5. Learn Ham radio. Not as capable, but much more reliable communication.
And any other suggestions anyone might have.
Here's a rough rundown of the main methods for locating nodes in a p2p network (these definitions are a bit rough, but good enough for this list).
Trackers are relatively easy to set up (and easy for peers to work with), but expensive to keep running under the load of bazillions of queries per day--they are also the most centralized option, making them the most vulnerable. Workarounds include having more of them, using tracker exchange (sometimes supported), and only relying on them when necessary.
DHT is much more scalable, but still requires a known address to enter the network--and peers are less likely to be online as continuously as trackers. Some workarounds are including a list of peers in the installation, and having one or more servers that can distribute active peer lists (This shares some weakness with trackers though).
The third option isn't too common: Address surveying, or randomly scanning address until finding one which offers the service you're looking for. Unlike the others, this one is guaranteed to succeed at some point--however, the internet is huge, so it won't always be practical. Also, randomly scanning thousands of ports is bound to piss some people off--probably not anybody you want to be dealing with.
Some combination of these will eventually locate one peer, which can then cascade into knowing as many as you need--by more use of these methods, and/or these as well:
Peer exchange: asking already known peers for any other peers they know. Cascades quickly, but not if it can't reach a certain 'critical mass' first (vaguely like if two or more circles of friends have none in common).
Local peer discovery: like address surveying, but much less obnoxious (and only on your local network area). Usefulness roughly depends on the size of said network.
That's all I got for now, but I'll add anything I think of later.
There are some other nice goodies here. Not all of them will apply to Zeronet, but it's still a handy reference if you want to do your own investigating. Also keep in mind that Wikipedia and stackOverflow are always a good first place to look.