Friday, January 24, 2014

Captain Obvious, secure call on line 3

The TOR network has been compromised:
Computer scientists have identified almost two dozen computers that were actively working to sabotage the Tor privacy network by carrying out attacks that can degrade encrypted connections between end users and the websites or servers they visit.

The "spoiled onions," as the researchers from Karlstad University in Sweden dubbed the bad actors, were among the 1,000 or so volunteer computers that typically made up the final nodes that exited the Tor—short for The Onion Router—network at any given time in recent months. Because these exit relays act as a bridge between the encrypted Tor network and the open Internet, the egressing traffic is decrypted as it leaves. That means operators of these servers can see traffic as it was sent by the end user. Any data the end user sent unencrypted, as well as the destinations of servers receiving or responding to data passed between an end user and server, can be monitored—and potentially modified—by malicious volunteers. Privacy advocates have long acknowledged the possibility that the National Security Agency and spy agencies across the world operate such rogue exit nodes.
It's been widely recognized that State Actors are running malicious TOR exit nodes.  The only thing interesting is that they've been able to identify some specific nodes.

Stay careful out there, and remember that there are other secure ways of passing data.


Phil said...

Doesn't surprise me one bit and actually makes sense if you are part of the government spy business.
As you said, the only surprise is that they identified them.

Dave H said...

TOR is primarily an anonymizer, isn't it? I don't see how anyone can expect it to send secure traffic, not when it connects to the wild Internet. This is why.

Borepatch said...

Dave, true. But you don't get much anonymity going through a pwned TOR node.

Old NFO said...

Sigh... They had a pretty good run...

ccbpc said...

Who originally sponsored this project? (Hint, hint: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory) Under what umbrella? (Hint, hint: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)

Our government has had its fingers in TOR since its inception. Why anyone would think it was secure is beyond me.