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NSA and GCHQ Thinks 'Tor Stinks'

NSA thinks Tor stinks. While the Tor encryption network is supported by the United States Government and the Defense Department, the NSA and GCHQ has nevertheless been trying to infiltrate its anonymous ranks. It has barely managed to accomplish this task though.

Oct 5 2013, 5:52am CDT | by

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NSA and GCHQ Thinks 'Tor Stinks'

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NSA and GCHQ Thinks 'Tor Stinks'

Tor which stands for “The Onion Router” is a cool way of remaining incognito while online. It is a tool used by journalists, dissidents and activists. Unfortunately the anonymity it affords the right elements sometimes also benefits the mutineers on deck. Many terrorists, child pornography distributors and drug dealers cash in on the secrecy this site lends them. That is why the government is starting to pry into the activities occurring on this website. 

Both the American NSA and the British GCHQ have tried infiltrating into the network. Much to their chagrin they have been unable to achieve this monumental task. Except for a handful of individuals, the rest remain anonymous and hence safe from the clutches of these government agencies. 

The governmental efforts bore little in the way of fruit. That is why one top secret document even goes to the extent of claiming that “Tor Stinks”. Edward Snowden’s whistle blowing activities have revealed the inconsistencies in the government’s own policies. While it is the government which funded Tor, now it is employing its agencies to infiltrate it. The NSA’s surveillance efforts however are very much micromanaged down to the last details. That is why there are fears that it may be able to reveal many users’ identities via its spying senses. 

If the NSA is able to infect a user’s computer than the whole procedure of information gathering becomes a cinch. The fact that a government agency has such extreme powers of spying on virtually the whole globe is cause for concern among every person who leaves a cyber footprint online. 

The Guardian has posted the full document of the NSA's top-secret presentation titled “Tor Stinks.” It says, “We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time' but 'with manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users.”

But Tor has posted a statement in response to the Guardian article. Tor officially states on its blog, "The good news is that they went for a browser exploit, meaning there's no indication they can break the Tor protocol or do traffic analysis on the Tor network. Infecting the laptop, phone, or desktop is still the easiest way to learn about the human behind the keyboard.

Tor still helps here: you can target individuals with browser exploits, but if you attack too many users, somebody's going to notice. So even if the NSA aims to surveil everyone, everywhere, they have to be a lot more selective about which Tor users they spy on.

Just using Tor isn't enough to keep you safe in all cases. Browser exploits, large-scale surveillance, and general user security are all challenging topics for the average internet user. These attacks make it clear that we, the broader internet community, need to keep working on better security for browsers and other internet-facing applications."


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Update: 11

Tor may be forced to cut back capacity after Heartbleed bug (Alex Hern/Guardian)

Source: Techmeme

Alex Hern / Guardian: Tor may be forced to cut back capacity after Heartbleed bug  —  The secure service may have to remove vulnerable servers affected by the bug, the network's co-founder warns  —  Tor, the secure networking service, may have to close down an eighth of its capacity as a result of the Heartbleed ...
Source: Techmeme  Full article at: Techmeme 7 hours ago, 2:00pm CDT


Update: 10

Tor anonymity network to shrink as a result of Heartbleed flaw

Source: PC World

The Tor Project has flagged 380 Tor relays vulnerable to the critical Heartbleed flaw to be rejected from the Tor anonymity network, reducing the network’s entry and exit capacity.The decision has already been implemented on a Tor directory authority—a server that maintains a list of Tor relays—controlled by Roger Dingledine, the Tor Project leader, and is likely to be followed by other directory authority operators.The 380 relays flagged for reje ...
Source: PC World  Full article at: PC World 8 hours ago, 1:00pm CDT

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Update: 9

Post Heartbleed, Tor could significantly reduce capacity -- but is it enough?

Source: BetaNews

It seems that there have been few big names left unaffected by the Heartbleed bug in OpenSSL. Google may have rushed to patch the flaw, but the number of websites and services that fell foul of the discovery is staggering. It seems that even stalwarts of security are finding themselves in troubled waters, and this includes anonymizing service Tor. Put very simply (very, very simply!), Tor works by not only encrypting data that is transferred online, but also bouncing it around a number o ...
Source: BetaNews   Full article at: BetaNews 9 hours ago, 12:00pm CDT

Update: 7

Tor Blacklisting Exit Nodes Vulnerable To Heartbleed

Source: Slashdot

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msm1267 (2804139) writes "The Tor Project has published a list of 380 exit relays vulnerable to the Heartbleed OpenSSL vulnerability that it will reject. This comes on the heels of news that researcher Collin Mulliner of Northeastern University in Boston found more than 1,000 nodes vulnerable to Heartbleed where he was able to retrieve plaintext user traffic. Mulliner said he used a random list of 5,000 Tor nodes from the ...
Source: Slashdot   Full article at: Slashdot 9 hours ago, 11:21am CDT

Update: 6

Tor network starts rejecting Heartbleed vulnerable relays

Source: Inquirer

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Source: Inquirer   Full article at: Inquirer 14 hours ago, 6:14am CDT

Update: 5

Tor may be forced to cut back capacity after Heartbleed bug

Source: The Guardian Technology

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The secure service may have to remove vulnerable servers affected by the bug, the network's co-founder warns Contin ...
Source: The Guardian Technology   Full article at: The Guardian Technology 16 hours ago, 4:34am CDT

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Source: Stockport Express

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The illustration shows the sun rising behind one of the park's famous gritstone tors, the Salt Cell ...
Source: Stockport Express   Full article at: Stockport Express 18 hours ago, 2:47am CDT

Update: 3

Heartbleed shrinks Tor by an eighth

Source: The Register

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And that's before they look at all the nodes and what version of OpenSSL they're running Tor, the sometimes-controversial internet-traffic-anonymising service, is bleeding than ...
Source: The Register   Full article at: The Register 1 day ago, 8:02pm CDT

Update: 2

Not even Tor can keep you safe from Heartbleed

Source: BGR

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So here's some sort-of good news: Cybercriminals might be just as freaked out about the Heartbleed bug as the rest of us. Trend Micro analyst J.D. Sherry writes that revelations about the gaping hole in the Open SSL, the security protocol used to encrypt web traffic, have caused "shell shock in the Deep Web as many of the hidden services within the TOR (The Onion Router) are impacted as well." Continue ...
Source: BGR   Full article at: BGR 1 day ago, 12:18pm CDT

Update: 1

Snowden Used the Linux Distro Designed For Internet Anonymity

Source: Slashdot

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Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "When Edward Snowden first emailed Glenn Greenwald, he insisted on using email encryption software called PGP for all communications. Now Klint Finley reports that Snowden also used The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails) to keep his communications out of the NSA's prying eyes. Tails is a kind of computer-in-a-box using a version of the Linux operating system optimized for anonymity that you install on a DVD ...
Source: Slashdot   Full article at: Slashdot 2 days ago, 2:42pm CDT

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest technology trends.




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