Hacking the Tor Network: Follow Up [Updated 2020]


In a previous post, I presented the main techniques used to hack Tor networks and de-anonymize Tor users. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies consider “de-anonymization” of Tor users a primary goal.

Authorities can try to implement techniques to break the encryption used to anonymize the traffic or to exploit vulnerabilities in one of the software modules that allows anonymizing the user’s online experience.

There is also another option for authorities: to try secretly to destroy the overall Tor architecture or attack the hidden services to interfere with the traffic that flows to them.

Operation Onymous

Since the publication of the last post, a blow was dealt by the authorities to the cybercriminals that use the Tor network for illegal purposes. Police and intelligence agencies in a joint effort conducted the takedown of several illegal marketplaces as part of Operation Onymous. Coordinated by Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), Operation Onymous hit the criminal organization that exploited the Tor network to manage black markets. The operation is considered an important success in the fight agaisnst cybercrime, but many experts have begun to question how law enforcement was able to locate the servers hosting hidden services and operators who ran the illegal activities. The developers of the Tor Project published an interesting blog post titled “Thoughts and Concerns about Operation Onymous“, in which they have explained the possible techniques adopted by authorities to locate the hidden services and de-anonymize the operators that managed the most popular black markets, including Silk Road 2.0.

“Over the last few days, we received and read reports saying that several Tor relays were seized by government officials. We do not know why the systems were seized, nor do we know anything about the methods of investigation which were used,” states the post.

The principal (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Infosec Resources authored by Pierluigi Paganini. Read the original post at:

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