To Tor or Not To Tor

Ever since September 2002, Tor has been a popular free piece of software to help / enable online anonymity, and resist filtering from restrictive governments or ISPs. The Tor network consist of over five thousand relays to help conceal users locations or online activity from anyone wishing to snoop.

Tor has however been described as ‘the dark corner of the web’ in relation to Bitcoin and Silk Road. Because of this reputation it has been a target by both the NSA and GCHQ signals intelligence stations in USA and UK respectively.

Over the years we have seen various attempts at gathering information out of the network, namely through entry and exit node eavesdropping. Earlier in 2012 we saw Austrian police raid a child porn ring using the Tor network, and in 2013 Japanese police targeted the network as it was disruptive to criminal investigations. It now appears the Russian government have offered $110,000 for a ‘crack’ to the Tor network, see more here.

The network is obviously being used to harbour a large amount of criminal activity, and it is clear to see that governments are not happy about its usage and will continue to try and circumvent the anonymity Tor provides. Who knows? Perhaps they already have!