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
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
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
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-9605
Published: 2015-09-04
WebUpgrade in Netsweeper before 3.1.10, 4.0.x before 4.0.9, and 4.1.x before 4.1.2 allows remote attackers to bypass authentication and create a system backup tarball, restart the server, or stop the filters on the server via a ' (single quote) character in the login and password parameters to webup...

CVE-2015-5612
Published: 2015-09-04
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in October CMS build 271 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the caption tag of a profile image.

CVE-2015-5688
Published: 2015-09-04
Directory traversal vulnerability in lib/app/index.js in Geddy before 13.0.8 for Node.js allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files via a ..%2f (dot dot encoded slash) in the PATH_INFO to the default URI.

CVE-2015-6807
Published: 2015-09-04
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Mass Contact module 6.x-1.x before 6.x-1.6 and 7.x-1.x before 7.x-1.1 for Drupal allows remote authenticated users with the "administer mass contact" permission to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a category label.

CVE-2015-6808
Published: 2015-09-04
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Spotlight module 7.x-1.x before 7.x-1.5 for Drupal allows remote authenticated users with certain permissions to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a node title.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Another Black Hat is in the books and Dark Reading was there. Join the editors as they share their top stories, biggest lessons, and best conversations from the premier security conference.