Risk
9/16/2013
11:49 AM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

FBI Admits To Tor Server Takeover

Bureau was accused of using malware to infect visitors to Freedom Hosting sites, to identify Irishman accused of running the world's largest child porn ring.

The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
(click image for larger view)
The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
The FBI has admitted to taking over Tor servers as part of a takedown aimed at Eric Eoin Marques, 28. The Department of Justice is now seeking the extradition of Marques, who holds dual U.S.-Irish citizenship, on child pornography charges.

During a Thursday bail hearing held in Dublin, supervisory special agent Brooke Donahue told the Irish court that Freedom Hosting hosted more than 100 child porn Tor sites which sported "thousands of members" who had collectively posted "millions of images" involving the abuse of children, reported Ireland's Independent.

Donahue described Marques as being "the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet" and the sole administrator behind the Freedom Hosting service. Donahue also told the court that the bureau found that Marques had visited some of the Freedom Hosting sites that were distributing child pornography, and that before his arrest, Marques appeared to be researching ways of relocating both himself and his servers to Russia, in an apparent attempt to avoid extradition. Marques ultimately was denied bail.

[ How secure are the new iPhones? Read Apple Hackers Rate iPhone 5s Security. ]

Freedom Hosting, which is unaffiliated with the Tor Project, offered Tor hidden service sites. Denoted by an ".onion" domain name, these sites can be reached only via the Tor anonymizing network, and their true geographic location and hosting details are obscured via multiple layers of routing. But at some point in July, Donahue told the Irish court, the FBI seized control of the Freedom Hosting servers, which were being hosted by an unnamed French service provider. The FBI said that Marques had paid for the hosting, using an account at a Las Vegas bank, and that after the FBI took over the servers, Marques managed to reset their access passwords and temporarily regain control.

Marques still faces the prospect of extradition based on charges -- still under seal -- which were filed in July in federal court in Maryland, which is where the FBI's child-exploitation task force is based, reported Wired.

The FBI had already been identified as the likely culprit behind the July hack of the Freedom Hosting site, which was used to make the site serve malware that targeted users of the Tor Browser Bundle (TBB), which is a version of Firefox customized to use the anonymizing Tor network. The relatively benign malware appeared to transmit -- via HTTP -- the unique MAC address of the infected PC, as well as its Windows hostname, reported Wired. That would have allowed authorities to identify the IP address of the PC and unmask individual Tor users.

All versions of the TBB that have been updated since June 26 are patched against the flaw, apparently exploited by the FBI.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-7298
Published: 2014-10-24
adsetgroups in Centrify Server Suite 2008 through 2014.1 and Centrify DirectControl 3.x through 4.2.0 on Linux and UNIX allows local users to read arbitrary files with root privileges by leveraging improperly protected setuid functionality.

CVE-2014-8346
Published: 2014-10-24
The Remote Controls feature on Samsung mobile devices does not validate the source of lock-code data received over a network, which makes it easier for remote attackers to cause a denial of service (screen locking with an arbitrary code) by triggering unexpected Find My Mobile network traffic.

CVE-2014-0619
Published: 2014-10-23
Untrusted search path vulnerability in Hamster Free ZIP Archiver 2.0.1.7 allows local users to execute arbitrary code and conduct DLL hijacking attacks via a Trojan horse dwmapi.dll that is located in the current working directory.

CVE-2014-2230
Published: 2014-10-23
Open redirect vulnerability in the header function in adclick.php in OpenX 2.8.10 and earlier allows remote attackers to redirect users to arbitrary web sites and conduct phishing attacks via a URL in the (1) dest parameter to adclick.php or (2) _maxdest parameter to ck.php.

CVE-2014-7281
Published: 2014-10-23
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in Shenzhen Tenda Technology Tenda A32 Router with firmware 5.07.53_CN allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that reboot the device via a request to goform/SysToolReboot.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.