FBI Using Open Source Hacking Tools for Knowing Tor Users Activity - BestCyberNews: Online News Presenter in the present world

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FBI Using Open Source Hacking Tools for Knowing Tor Users Activity

What’s changed is the way the FBI uses its malware capability, deploying it as a driftnet instead of a fishing line. And the shift is a direct response to Tor, the powerful anonymity system.

Tor is free, open-source software that lets you surf the web anonymously. It achieves that by accepting connections from the public Internet the “clearnet”, encrypting the traffic and bouncing it through a winding series of computers before dumping it back on the web through any of over 1,100 “exit nodes.”

In 2006, Moore launched the “Metasploit Decloaking Engine,” a proof-of-concept that compiled five tricks for breaking through anonymization systems. 

Metasploit is best known as a sophisticated open-source penetration testing tool that lets users assemble and deliver an attack from component parts identify a target, pick an exploit, add a payload and let it fly.

If your Tor install was buttoned down, the site would fail to identify you. But if you’d made a mistake, your IP would appear on the screen, proving you weren’t as anonymous as you thought. 

According to Wired, FBI agents relied on Flash code from an abandoned Metasploit side project called the “Decloaking Engine” to stage its first known effort to successfully identify a multitude of  suspects hiding behind the Tor anonymity network.

An attorney for one of the defendants ensnared by the code is challenging the reliability of the hackerware, arguing it may not meet Supreme Court standards for the admission of scientific evidence.

“The judge decided that I would be entitled to retain an expert,” says Omaha defense attorney Joseph Gross. “That’s where I am on this—getting a programming expert involved to examine what the government has characterized as a Flash application attack of the Tor network.”

Tor, a free, open-source project originally funded by the US Navy, is sophisticated anonymity software that protects users by routing traffic through a labyrinthine of encrypted connections. 

Like any encryption or privacy system, Tor is popular with criminals. But it also is used by human rights workers, activists, journalists and whistleblowers worldwide. 

Indeed, much of the funding for Tor comes from grants issued by federal agencies like the State Department that have a vested interest in supporting safe, anonymous speech for dissidents living under oppressive regimes.

With so many legitimate users depending upon the system, any successful attack on Tor raises alarm and prompts questions, even when the attacker is a law enforcement agency operating under a court order.

Operation Torpedo though, there’s evidence the FBI’s anti-Tor capabilities have been rapidly advancing. Torpedo was in November 2012. In late July 2013, computer security experts detected a similar attack through Dark Net websites hosted by a shady ISP called Freedom Hosting court records have since confirmed it was another FBI operation. 

For this one, the bureau used custom attack code that exploited a relatively fresh Firefox vulnerability the hacking equivalent of moving from a bow-and-arrow to a 9-mm pistol. In addition to the IP address, which identifies a household, this code collected the MAC address of the particular computer that infected by the malware.




Author Venkatesh Yalagandula Follow us Google + and Facebook and Twitter