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Author Topic: FOI Documents Show TOR Undernet Beyond the Reach of the Federal Investigators  (Read 3031 times)
Renegade
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« on: June 13, 2012, 11:54:12 AM »

So, we have it from the horses mouth that TOR works:

http://www.activistpost.c...-tor-undernet-beyond.html

Quote
Recently released documents detail the federal government's inability to pursue cybercriminals shrouded by the tricky anonymity tools used by the Silk Road marketplace and other darknet sites - tools which are funded in part by the federal government itself. In this particular case, a citizen reported stumbling upon a cache of child pornography while browsing the anonymous Tor network's hidden sites, which are viewable with specialized, but readily available, tools and the special .onion domain.

So, chalk up a victory for TOR and .onion~! cheesy The surveillance state isn't perfect yet.

(Shame about the kiddie porn there... No sympathy from me and only violent rants to ensue, but for the privacy issue - all thumbs up.)
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IainB
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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 07:26:26 PM »

Yes, I read about this on the Activist blog. I am skeptical, because of the history of such technologies.
My take on it is that it may or may not be true.
  • (a) If it is true that Tor is impenetrable by the SS (includes Government military, CIA, FBI, para-military, police, or other Secret Services in any form), then maybe we can anticipate a piece of legislation that outlaws its use for civilian communication purposes. The SS after all have a legal duty to intercept and monitor all civilian communications as necessary, for them to meet their obligations for maintaining national security/defence. A government's job, after all, includes the responsibility for "protecting" the people - right? It's all about "Protect & Serve".
  • (b) If it is not true, then the "documents" may have been deliberately released to con people into thinking it is true, so that the people continue to use Tor in blissful ignorance that their communications are being (or can be) intercepted, decoded and monitored by the SS.

The reasoning behind this is that all forms of modern electronic communication transmission, security, and encryption tend to stem from a purpose that originally had a solely military/defence use.
For example, 2 cases:
CASE #1 - Encryption:
CASE #2 - GPS:

From these 2 cases, you can see that, for such technologies, there seems to be a "Pandora's Box" type of window of opportunity:
Secure and impenetrable telecommunications, impenetrable encryption, and GPS, are each rather like a Pandora's Box. Once you start using a new military technology, it is only a matter of time before it spreads and the military advantage of that technology dissipates. The trick is to control it as "secret" for as long as possible.
In the case of encryption, recent history provides a sobering example of what can happen when the SS wishes to maintain control over such new technologies and prevent the advantage from being lost by them being made available for civilian use. When Phil Zimmermann invented PGP, he circumvented the prevailing US SS legislation restricting such a technology by publishing the complete source code of PGP in a hardback book, which was sold worldwide. Books are protected by the First Amendment. Anybody could buy the book, OCR-scan the pages, and they would thus have the full set of source code as text files, from which they could build the application using the GNU Compiler. From 1993, the SS hounded Phil Zimmermann under prevailing statutes (including prohibited export of military technology), with legal investigations/actions for several years. Eventually, the SS seemingly closed the matter without filing any criminal charges against Zimmermann or others associated with PGP's publication.

We have seem from a recent court case in the US that the owner of a laptop with impenetrable encryption (PGP - Symantec version) can be legally forced to divulge their encryption key or face criminal charges. You can probably lay a safe bet that the root problem - impenetrable encryption - is probably quietly being addressed at source between the SS and Symantec, possibly under threat of the "Zimmermann treatment", which is still legal - unlike waterboarding. So that loophole will be closed.
And, if it really is impenetrable, then arguably the same could apply for the Tor technology.

And - for them as needs it - all this probably provides just more fodder for the argument that the First Amendment needs to be scrapped, for the public good, so that the SS can get on with their mandated and difficult job of security/defence. The potential "enemy" for the SS has also necessarily become Joe Public - and vice versa, perversely and by implication. We created this.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2012, 08:53:04 PM by IainB; Reason: Minor corrections. » Logged
4wd
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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2012, 07:33:11 PM »

Double bluff - kind of like when they were pursuing Phil Zimmermann and then suddenly....they stopped.

We all knew what that meant  Wink





Disclaimer: Blatant OTT conspiracy theory to fit in with Renegade's mindset.

smiley
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SeraphimLabs
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2012, 08:10:26 PM »

I wouldn't trust it.

The way Tor works is that it relies on other clients to provide peer to peer routing.

All it takes is for the world governments to start setting honeypots- modified clients that intercept and document traffic passed through them, which of course would also be rather high performance systems to encourage use of them, and they will rather quickly be able to intercept and tamper with Tor traffic.

Seems to be the weakness of any P2P based system- all it takes is malicious clients serving as supernodes and the entire system is compromised because those malicious clients are then able to intercept traffic in the system as they see fit.

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Renegade
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2012, 11:23:26 PM »

Disclaimer: Blatant OTT conspiracy theory to fit in with Renegade's mindset.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean it isn't all true~! tongue

I wouldn't trust it.

The way Tor works is that it relies on other clients to provide peer to peer routing.

All it takes is for the world governments to start setting honeypots- modified clients that intercept and document traffic passed through them, which of course would also be rather high performance systems to encourage use of them, and they will rather quickly be able to intercept and tamper with Tor traffic.

Seems to be the weakness of any P2P based system- all it takes is malicious clients serving as supernodes and the entire system is compromised because those malicious clients are then able to intercept traffic in the system as they see fit.

I think you're right there about tampering. TOR isn't encryption. It's anonymization.

But I'm not sure if it's possible to do traffic analysis on TOR traffic to figure out the end points... Anyone know?

But if you add in encryption, then you fundamentally change the game. Well, provided the encryption is strong, etc. etc.
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barney
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2012, 11:59:26 PM »

It's all about "Protect & Serve".
Shouldn't that be, "Protect & Service?"  (After all, they do wanna protect what they're screwin' ... so they can do it again  Sad Angry Sad.)
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2012, 07:07:40 AM »

But I'm not sure if it's possible to do traffic analysis on TOR traffic to figure out the end points... Anyone know?
Strategically placed "hostile" endpoints with their own back channel would break it rather nicely (for them...). Remember the DNS server stunt... smiley ...They were just trying to help out...Sure they were... (Not!)

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(Forgot to mention) IMO IainB nailed it.
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40hz
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2012, 07:49:07 AM »




Can you spell: Black FlagGrin

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TaoPhoenix
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2012, 09:31:03 AM »

I've seen previous articles about corrupted nodes and so on, so I'm inclined to believe it's not quite as perfect as it sounds, but more of a pain than nothing at all. So knowing our govt, they'll play BOTH sides, simultaneously whining "awww we can't catch the terrorists" but then in fact spying on the few who get through.
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IainB
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2012, 03:26:24 PM »

Can you spell: Black FlagGrin
That image looks rather sinister. I had not seen that before. What is it intending to say exactly? I am not sure.
Is "Black Flag" the opposite of a white flag? Like the Spartan's defiant molon labe ("not easily taken")? Or a statement of defiant anarchy waved in the face of the State?
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2012, 03:34:44 PM »

I read it as black/false flag - An intentional misdirect so as to incriminate the other side.
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IainB
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« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2012, 07:04:13 AM »

This is another sobering view from torrentfreak: How Long Before VPNs Become Illegal?
Exactly.
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40hz
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« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2012, 01:06:24 PM »

I read it as black/false flag - An intentional misdirect so as to incriminate the other side.

Precisely. You cannot make an anonymous request in the United States for information under FOI laws. You must positively identify yourself or your organization when filing such a request. The justification is that certain information may or may not be exempted from FOI discovery depending upon who is making the request. So in order to comply with the law and FOI administrative rules, the agency being petitioned must know who they may be releasing such information to.

One good way to shop dissidents is to encourage them to attempt to obtain restricted information through "official" channels. Not to sound paranoid, but if it's something cabals within the government are concerned about becoming public knowledge, your show of unusual interest may result in you yourself being deemed "a subject of interest" by the agency in question. Not a good thing to be in most cases.

The other problem is that the FOIA has largely become an easily manipulated sham in recent years. There are enough legal exemptions and special 'security' rules that it is now largely up to the government exactly how much it wants to cooperate with this law. Suffice to say it is only now complied with when it provides some advantage to the government. Or casts government actions in a favorable light. Or secures some power group within the government a political advantage if it doesn't. (One excellent way to deal with political opponents is to make sure all their dirty laundry gets aired in public while yours is kept safely buried "for reasons of national security.")

As computer users and programmers we know: garbage in = garbage out. And information received is only as good as the integrity of the database it comes out of.

Invoke FOIA?
 Cool


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