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Russia Attempted to De-Anonymize Tor Browser: Report

An attempt to crack Tor was one of many projects hackers discovered when they broke into Russian intelligence contractor SyTech.

When hackers from the 0v1ru$ group breached the server of SyTech, a contractor for Russian Federal Security Service FSB, they stole approximately 7.5 terabytes of data that included descriptions of internal projects. One of these was an attempt to crack the Tor browser.

BBC Russia first reported on the breach, which occurred on July 13. The intruders replaced SyTech's homepage with a "yoba face," or a smiley common among Internet trolls, and they shared the wealth of information they discovered with other attack groups and journalists.

It's unclear whether attempts to de-anonymize Tor were successful, the report states. It seems the experimental tactics mostly relied on luck. Tor lets people conceal location and Internet use; when people connect, Internet service providers know they're using it but not which sites are visited. The FSB can demand to know whether Tor is being used but wanted to learn more, so it attempted to detect which websites were being visited through the Tor browser.

The attempt to de-anonymize Tor was one of many projects discovered in the SyTech breach. Others included efforts to search email servers of major companies, collect data on social media users, and learn how Russia's Internet interacts with external networks.

Read more details here.

 

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