Russian Intelligence Attempts to Crack Tor Anonymous Web Browser

On being breached by cybercriminals, a intelligence contractor has been found to be attempting to crack an web browser, ‘Tor’, which is employed by the people who wish to bypass government surveillance and acquire access to the dark web. However, it is unclear how effective the attempt to crack the web browser was because the modus operandi relied largely on the luck factor to match Tor users to their activity.

According to the findings of the BBC, the intelligence contractor which is widely known in Russia is also working on various secret projects.

SyTech, a contractor for Russia’s Federal Security Service FSB, fell prey to a massive data breach wherein hackers gained illicit access to around 7.5 terabytes of data and included details regarding its projects.

The internet homepage of the company was replaced by a smug smiley face by the hackers from a group namely 0v1ru$ who acquired illegal access to the company on 13th July.

In order to crack Tor, SyTech resorted to Nautilus-S which required them to become an active member of the browser’s network.

Whenever a user gets connected to Tor, the usage of the web browser is visible to the internet service providers who later can provide this data to the FSB or any other state authority, on being asked.

Commenting on the viability of SyTech’s attempt to crack Tor, a spokesperson for the Tor project said, “Although malicious exit nodes would see a fraction of the traffic exiting the network, by design, this would not be enough to deanonymize Tor users,”

“Large-scale effective traffic correlation would take a much larger view of the network, and we don’t see that happening here,” he added.

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