Risk
8/5/2013
10:40 AM
50%
50%

Tor Anonymity Cracked; FBI Porn Investigation Role Questioned

Some security experts ask whether an FBI sting operation exploited a vulnerability in Firefox to disable the anonymity offered by the Tor network.

Who's now at risk from the Firefox flaw exploited by the injection script? In fact, the vulnerability was patched on June 25, 2013, with the release of Firefox 22 and Firefox Extended Service Release (ESR) -- which is often used by enterprises -- version 17.0.7.

"People who are on the latest supported versions of Firefox are not at risk," wrote Daniel Veditz, Mozilla's security lead, in a Sunday blog post. "Although the vulnerability affects users of Firefox 21 and below, the exploit targets only ESR-17 users. Since this attack was found on Tor hidden services, presumably that is because the Tor Browser Bundle (TBB) is based on Firefox ESR-17. Users running the most recent TBB have all the fixes that were applied to Firefox ESR 17.0.7 and were also not at risk from this attack."

Anyone still using a vulnerable version of the TBB can mitigate the vulnerability by deactivating JavaScript in their Firefox browser. "We're investigating these bugs and will fix them if we can," said Tor's Phobos.

Responding to criticism that a zero-day vulnerability in Firefox had been used to compromise Tor users, Mozilla's Veditz countered that the bug had already been publicly disclosed and fixed. "This wasn't a 'zero day' attack, it was an exploit based on a security advisory from six weeks ago," he said. "The number of users vulnerable to this -- those who aren't up to date -- is dropping fast so the exploit is losing most of its value anyway."

The timing of the apparent Freedom Hosting takedown and bust of Marques -- which happened the same week as the annual Black Hat and DEF CON conventions -- didn't go unnoticed by the hacking community. "FBI uploads malicious code on the deep websites while everyone is off at DEF CON. Talk about playing dirty," posted "VarthDator" on a related Reddit thread.

Marques, meanwhile, remains incarcerated in Ireland, following his request for bail having been denied, after a judge classified him as a flight risk. That was based on testimony that Marques had routed large amounts of money from his bank accounts to accounts based in Romania. Authorities also said that based on a digital forensic examination of Marques' computer, he'd been researching how to obtain a visa for Russia. Marques countered in court that he'd only been researching the issue out of curiosity, in response to news about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
MohitK590
50%
50%
MohitK590,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/5/2013 | 5:14:15 PM
re: Tor Anonymity Cracked; FBI Porn Investigation Role Questioned
According to 'The Hacker News' , the IP address mentioned in the Firefox exploit belongs to NSA's contractor and they used it to hack TOR network to uncloak anonymous users including hackers, protesters | More details : http://thehackernews.com/2013/...
Mathew
50%
50%
Mathew,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/6/2013 | 7:26:23 AM
re: Tor Anonymity Cracked; FBI Porn Investigation Role Questioned
Thanks for the comment. The assertion that the IP address traces directly to the NSA has been refuted by Wired. In a nutshell, the IP address has been misread, although it does trace to an upstream Verizon provider that serves a number of government agencies (including the public-facing NSA.gov site) as well as government contractors.

Also, The TOR Project announced Monday that anyone who's installed the latest Tor Browser Bundle -- released June 26, 2013 -- is protected against the Firefox exploit. Note that TBB doesn't (yet) auto-update.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: "I've seen worse.  Last week Tim had a dragon."
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.