Archive for the ‘Tor’ Category

Testing Next-Gen Onions!

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Please help us test next-gen onions! by George Kadianakis.

From the webpage:

this is an email for technical people who want to help us test next-gen onion services.

The current status of next-gen onion services (aka prop224) is that they have been fully merged into upstream tor and have also been released as part of tor-

Unfortunately, there is still no tor browser with tor- so these instructions are for technical users who have no trouble building tor on their own.

We are still in a alpha testing phase and when we get more confident about the code we plan to release a blog post (probs during October).

Until then we hope that people can help us test them. To do so, we have setup a *testing hub* in a prop224 IRC server that you can and should join (ideally using a VPS so that you stick around).

Too late for me to test the instructions today but will tomorrow!

The security you help preserve may be your own!


Darkening the Dark Web

Monday, September 18th, 2017

I encountered Andy Greenberg‘s post, It’s About to Get Even Easier to Hide on the Dark Web (20 January 2017), and was happy to read:

From the post:

The next generation of hidden services will use a clever method to protect the secrecy of those addresses. Instead of declaring their .onion address to hidden service directories, they’ll instead derive a unique cryptographic key from that address, and give that key to Tor’s hidden service directories. Any Tor user looking for a certain hidden service can perform that same derivation to check the key and route themselves to the correct darknet site. But the hidden service directory can’t derive the .onion address from the key, preventing snoops from discovering any secret darknet address. “The Tor network isn’t going to give you any way to learn about an onion address you don’t already know,” says Mathewson.

The result, Mathewson says, will be darknet sites with new, stealthier applications. A small group of collaborators could, for instance, host files on a computer known to only to them. No one else could ever even find that machine, much less access it. You could host a hidden service on your own computer, creating a way to untraceably connect to it from anywhere in the world, while keeping its existence secret from snoops. Mathewson himself hosts a password-protected family wiki and calendar on a Tor hidden service, and now says he’ll be able to do away with the site’s password protection without fear of anyone learning his family’s weekend plans. (Tor does already offer a method to make hidden services inaccessible to all but certain Tor browsers, but it involves finicky changes to the browser’s configuration files. The new system, Mathewson says, makes that level of secrecy far more accessible to the average user.)

The next generation of hidden services will also switch from using 1024-bit RSA encryption keys to shorter but tougher-to-crack ED-25519 elliptic curve keys. And the hidden service directory changes mean that hidden service urls will change, too, from 16 characters to 50. But Mathewson argues that change doesn’t effect the dark web addresses’ usability since they’re already too long to memorize.

Your wait to test these new features for darkening the dark web are over!

Tor is released, with support for next-gen onion services and KIST scheduler

From the post:

And as if all those other releases today were not enough, this is also the time for a new alpha release series!

Tor is the first release in the 0.3.2.x series. It includes support for our next-generation (“v3”) onion service protocol, and adds a new circuit scheduler for more responsive forwarding decisions from relays. There are also numerous other small features and bugfixes here.

You can download the source from the usual place on the website. Binary packages should be available soon, with an alpha Tor Browser likely by the end of the month.

Remember: This is an alpha release, and it’s likely to have more bugs than usual. We hope that people will try it out to find and report bugs, though.

The Vietnam War series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick makes it clear the United States government lies and undertakes criminal acts for reasons hidden from the public. To trust any assurance by that government of your privacy, freedom of speech, etc., is an act of madness.

Will you volunteer to help with the Tor project or place your confidence in government?

It really is that simple.

Tor Browser 7.0.5 is released – Upgrade! Stay Ahead of Spies!

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Tor Browser 7.0.5 is released

From the webpage:

Tor Browser 7.0.5 is now available from the Tor Browser Project page and also from our distribution directory.

This release makes HTTPS-Everywhere compatible with Tor Browser on higher security levels and ensures that browser windows on macOS are properly rounded.

Well, no guarantee you will stay ahead of spies but using the current release of Tor is the best one can do. At least for browsers.


DOJ Wanted To Hunt Down Visitors

Friday, August 25th, 2017

National Public Radio (NPR) details the Department of Justice (DOJ) request for web records from, which organized protests against the coronation of the current U.S. president, in Government Can Search Inauguration Protest Website Records, With Safeguards and Justice Department Narrows Request For Visitor Logs To Inauguration Protest Website. (The second story has the specifics on the demand.)

The narrowed DOJ request excludes:

f. DreamHost shall not disclose records that constitute HTTP requests and error logs.

A win for casual visitors this time, but no guarantees for next time.

The NPR stories detail this latest governmental over-reaching but the better question is:

How to avoid being scooped up if such a request were granted?

One word answer: Tor!

What is Tor?

Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.

Why Anonymity Matters

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.

What’s your default browser?

If your answer is anything but Tor, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

Defeat FBI Video Booby-Trap

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Joseph Cox details “…deanonymizing people in a targeted way using novel or unorthodox law enforcement techniques…” in The FBI Booby-Trapped a Video to Catch a Suspected Tor Sextortionist.

Not an attack on Tor per se but defeated the use of Tor none the less.

Can you spot the suspect’s error?

From the complaint:

F. Law Enforcement Identifies “Brian Kil’s” True IP Address

51. On June 9, 2017, the Honorable Debra McVicker Lynch authorized the execution of a Network Investigative Technique “NIT” (defined in Clause No. 1:17-mj-437) in order to ascertain the IP address associated with Brian Kil and Victim 2.

52. As set forth in the search warrant application presented to Judge Lynch, the FBI was authorized by the Court to add a small piece of code (NIT) to a normal video file produced by Victim 2, which did not contain any visual depictions of any minor engaged in sexually explicit activity. As authorized, the FBI then uploaded the video file containing the NIT to the account known only to Kil and Victim 2. When Kil viewed the video containing the NIT on a computer, the NIT would disclose the true IP address associated with the computer used by Kil.

57. When Kil viewed the video containing the NIT on a computer the NIT disclosed the true IP address associated with the computer used by Kil.

Where did “Kil’s” opsec fail?

“Kil” viewed content of unknown origin on a networked computer.

“Kil” thought the content originated with Victim 2, but all remote content on the Internet should be treated as being of unknown origin.

No one knows if you are a dog on the Internet just as you don’t know if the FBI sent the video you are playing.

Content of unknown origin is examined and stays on non-networked computers. Copy text only to networked systems. If you need the original content, well, you have been warned.

You can see the full complaint at:

Best practice: Remote content, even if from known source, is of unknown origin. (A comrade may have made the document, video, image, but government agents intercepted and infected it.)

PS: I’m no fan of sextortionists but I am concerned about the use of “booby-trapped” videos against political activists. (Makes you wonder about “jihadist” videos on YouTube doesn’t it?)

We’ll Pay You to #HackTor

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

We’ll Pay You to #HackTor

From the post:


Millions of people around the world depend on Tor to browse the internet privately and securely every day, so our security is critical. Bugs in our code pose one of the biggest threats to our users’ safety; they allow skilled attackers to bypass Tor’s protections and compromise the safety of Tor users.

We’re constantly looking for flaws in our software and been fortunate to have a large community of hackers who help us identify and fix serious issues early on, but we think we can do even more to protect our users. That’s why if you can #HackTor and find bugs in our software, we want reward you.


With support from the Open Technology Fund, we’re launching our first public bug bounty with HackerOne. We’re specifically looking for your help to find bugs in Tor (the network daemon) and Tor Browser. A few of the vulnerabilities we’re looking for include local privilege escalation, unauthorized access of user data, attacks that cause the leakage of crypto material of relays or clients, and remote code execution. In January 2016, we launched a private bug bounty; hackers helped us catch 3 crash/DoS bugs (2 OOB-read bugs + 1 infinite loop bug) and 4 edge-case memory corruption bugs.

Tor users around the globe, including human rights defenders, activists, lawyers, and researchers, rely on the safety and security of our software to be anonymous online. Help us protect them and keep them safe from surveillance, tracking, and attacks. We’ll award up to $4,000 per bug report, depending on the impact and severity of what you find.


Sign up for an account at HackerOne. Visit for the complete guidelines, details, terms, and conditions of our bug bounty. Then, start finding and reporting bugs to help keep Tor and Tor Browser safe.

Happy bug hunting!

The pay isn’t great but it’s for a worthy cause.

Any improvement individual security is a net win for individuals everywhere.

Tor descriptors à la carte: Tor Metrics Library 2

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Tor descriptors à la carte: Tor Metrics Library 2.

From the post:

We’re often asked by researchers, users, and journalists for Tor network data. How can you find out how many people use the Tor network daily? How many relays make up the network? How many times has Tor Browser been downloaded in your country? In order to get to these answers from archived data, we have to continuously fetch, parse, and evaluate Tor descriptors. We do this with the Tor Metrics Library.

Today, the Tor Metrics Team is proud to announce major improvements and launch Tor Metrics Library version 2.0.0. These improvements, supported by a Mozilla Open Source Support (MOSS) “Mission Partners” award, enhance our ability to monitor the performance and stability of the Tor network.

Tutorials too! How very cool!

From the tutorials page:

“Tor metrics are the ammunition that lets Tor and other security advocates argue for a more private and secure Internet from a position of data, rather than just dogma or perspective.”
— Bruce Schneier (June 1, 2016


Encourage your family, friends, visitors to all use Tor. Consider an auto-updated display of Tor statistics to drive further use.

Relying on governments, vendors and interested others for security, is by definition, insecurity.

Improved Tracking of .onion links by Facebook

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Improved sharing of .onion links on Facebook by Will Shackleton.

From the post:

Today we are rolling out two new features on Facebook to improve the experience of sharing, discovering and clicking .onion links to Tor hidden services especially for people who are not on Tor.

First, Facebook can now show previews for .onion links. Hidden service owners can use Open Graph tags to customise these previews, much like regular websites do.

Second, people who are not using Tor and click on .onion links will now see a message informing them that the link they clicked may not work. The message enables people to find out more about Tor and – for hidden services which have opted in – helps visit the service’s equivalent regular website. For people who are already using Tor, we send them straight through to the hidden service without showing any message.

Try sharing your favorite .onion link on Facebook and let us know in the comments what you think about our improvements!

This is a very bad plan!

If you are:

not using Tor and click on .onion links will now see a message informing them that the link they clicked may not work.

and, Facebook captures your non-Tor accessing of that link.

Accessing .onion links on Facebook, without using Tor, in the words of Admiral Ackbar, “It’s a trap!”:

Tor 7.0! (Won’t Protect You From @theintercept)

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Tor Browser 7.0 Is Out!

The Tor browser is great but recognize its limitations.

A primary one is Tor can’t protect you from poor judgment @theintercept. No software can do that.

Change your other habits as appropriate.

Tor is released: a new series is stable!

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Tor is released: a new series is stable!

From the post:

Tor is the first stable release of the Tor 0.3.0 series.

With the 0.3.0 series, clients and relays now use Ed25519 keys to authenticate their link connections to relays, rather than the old RSA1024 keys that they used before. (Circuit crypto has been Curve25519-authenticated since We have also replaced the guard selection and replacement algorithm to behave more robustly in the presence of unreliable networks, and to resist guard- capture attacks.

This series also includes numerous other small features and bugfixes, along with more groundwork for the upcoming hidden-services revamp.

Per our stable release policy, we plan to support the Tor 0.3.0 release series for at least the next nine months, or for three months after the first stable release of the 0.3.1 series: whichever is longer. If you need a release with long-term support, we recommend that you stay with the 0.2.9 series.

If you build Tor from source, you can find it at the usual place on the website. Packages should be ready over the next weeks, with a Tor Browser release in late May or early June.

Below are the changes since For a list of only the changes since, see the ChangeLog file.

I’ve been real lazy with Tor, waiting for packages, etc.

Not that I can “proof” the code but I should at least be building from sources.

Good practice if nothing else.

I’ll take a shot at building from source for Ubuntu 16.04 this week and report on how it goes.

Fingerprinting Every Browser But Tor

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Browser Fingerprinting Tech Works Across Different Browsers for the First Time by Amy Nordrum.

Yinzhi Cao and colleagues have developed browser fingerprint code that identifies 99.24 percent of users across browsers.

Cao’s paper, (Cross-)Browser Fingerprinting via OS and
Hardware Level Features



The lead for the story was buried at the end of the post:

The only browser that his method didn’t work on was Tor. (emphasis added)

Your call, you can take care of your own security or be provably insecure.

Ultrasound Tracking Defeats Tor (Provides Pathway Into Government Offices)

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Tor users at risk of being unmasked by ultrasound tracking by Danny Bradbury.

How close is your phone to your computer right now?

That close?

You may want to rethink your phone’s location.

From the post:

A new type of attack should make Tor users – and countless dogs around the world – prick up their ears. The attack, revealed at BlackHat Europe in November and at the 33rd Chaos Computer Congress the following month, uses ultrasounds to track users, even if they are communicating over anonymous networks.

The attack uses a technique called ultrasound cross-device tracking (uXDT), which made its way into advertising circles as early as 2012. Marketing companies running uXDT campaigns will play an ultrasonic sound, inaudible to the human ear, in a TV or radio ad, or even in an ad delivered via a computer browser.

Although the user won’t hear it, other devices such as smartphones using uXDT-enabled apps will be listening. When the app hears the signal, it will ping the advertising network with details about itself. What details? Anything it asks for the phone for, such as its IP address, geolocation Coleman’s, telephone number and IMEI (SIM card) code.

That’s creepy enough in marketing. Now, advertisers can tell what TV or radio ads you’ve been listening to, matching them with the universe of other information they have about you from your web searches, social media activity and emails.

In essence the technique uses an ultrasound “beacon” to trigger your phone to “call home.”

Hmmm, betrayed by your own phone.

Danny outlines a number of scenarios of governments using this technique against users.

Ultrasound tracking poses a significant risk for Tor users, but they are security conscious enough to be using Tor.

Consider the flip side of using ultrasound tracking as a pathway into government offices. A phone that can “call home” can certainly listen for keystrokes.

Where do you think most sysadmins keep their phones? 😉

Tor Risks for Whistleblowers

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Exclusively Relying on Tor Risks Detection and Exposure for Whistleblowers by Michael Best.

Eighteen (18) slides to remind you that just using Tor can leave you vulnerable to detection and exposure.

Depending on who you are exposing, detection may be hazardous to your freedom or even your life.

Unfortunately, like other forms of cybersecurity, avoiding detection and exposure requires effort. Effort that is rare among casual users of computers.

Depending upon your risk factors, you and your colleagues should review security practices on a regular basis.

I would include these slides and/or an adaptation of them as part of that review.

Pointers to regular security practice review cheatsheets?

Tor is released, with important fixes

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Tor is released, with important fixes

Source available today, packages over the next week.

Privacy is an active, not passive stance.

Steps to take:

  1. Upgrade your Tor software.
  2. Help someone upgrade their Tor software.
  3. Introduce one new person to Tor.

If you take those steps with every upgrade, Tor will spread more quickly.

I have this vision of James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence), waking up in a cold sweat as darkness spreads across a visualization of the Internet in real time.

Just a vision but an entertaining one.

Running a Tor Exit Node for fun and e-mails

Sunday, September 4th, 2016

Running a Tor Exit Node for fun and e-mails by Antonios A. Chariton.

From the post:

To understand the logistics behind running a Tor Exit Node, I will tell you how I got to run my Tor Exit Node for over 8 months. Hopefully, during the process, some of your questions will be answered, and you’ll also learn some new things. Please note that this is my personal experience and I cannot guarantee it will be the same for you. Also, I must state that I have run other exit nodes in the past, as well as multiple non-exit relays and bridges.

A great first person account on running a Tor Exit Node.

Some stats after 8 months:

  • It has been running for almost 8 months
  • It costs 4,90 EUR / month. In comparison, the same server in AWS would cost $1,122, or 992€ as of today
  • The total cost to date is 40€. In comparison, the same server in AWS would cost about 8,000€.
  • It is pushing up to 50 Mb/s, every second
  • It relayed over 70 TB of Tor traffic
  • It generated 2,729 Abuse E-Mails
  • It is only blocking port 25, and this to prevent spam
  • It helped hundreds or thousands of people to reach an uncensored Internet
  • It helped even more people browse the Internet anonymously and with privacy

If your not quite up to running an exit node, consider running a Tor relay node: Add Tor Nodes For 2 White Chocolate Mochas (Venti) Per Month.

Considering the bandwidth used by governments for immoral purposes, the observation:

Finally, just like with everything else, we have malicious users. Not necessarily highly skilled criminals, but people in general who (ab)use the anonymity that Tor provides to commit things they otherwise wouldn’t.

doesn’t trouble me.

As a general rule, highly skilled or not, criminals don’t carry out air strikes against hospitals and such.

Dark Web OSINT With Python Part Three: Visualization

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Dark Web OSINT With Python Part Three: Visualization by Justin.

From the post:

Welcome back! In this series of blog posts we are wrapping the awesome OnionScan tool and then analyzing the data that falls out of it. If you haven’t read parts one and two in this series then you should go do that first. In this post we are going to analyze our data in a new light by visualizing how hidden services are linked together as well as how hidden services are linked to clearnet sites.

One of the awesome things that OnionScan does is look for links between hidden services and clearnet sites and makes these links available to us in the JSON output. Additionally it looks for IP address leaks or references to IP addresses that could be used for deanonymization.

We are going to extract these connections and create visualizations that will assist us in looking at interesting connections, popular hidden services with a high number of links and along the way learn some Python and how to use Gephi, a visualization tool. Let’s get started!

Jason tops off this great series on OnionScan by teaching the rudiments of using Gephi to visualize and explore the resulting data.

Can you map yourself from the Dark Web to visible site?

If so, you aren’t hidden well enough.

Tor is released, with important fixes

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Tor is released, with important fixes

From the post:

Tor fixes an important bug related to the ReachableAddresses option in, and replaces a retiring bridge authority. Everyone who sets the ReachableAddresses option, and all bridges, are strongly encouraged to upgrade.

You can download the source from the Tor website. Packages should be available over the next week or so.

For some reason, a link to the Tor website was omitted.

Upgrade and surf somewhat more securely. (Security never being absolute.)

Best Onion Links – Deep Web [188 Links]

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Best Onion Links – Deep Web

One hundred and eighty-eight (188) Deep Web links arranged in these categories:

  • Audio – Music / Streams
  • Blogs / Essays
  • Books
  • Commercial Services
  • Digital Goods / Commercial Links
  • Domain Services
  • Drugs
  • Email / Messaging
  • Financial Services
  • Forums / Boards / Chans
  • Hosting / Web / File / Image
  • Introduction Points
  • Other
  • Physical Goods
  • Political Advocacy
  • Social Networks
  • WikiLeaks

The list is updated every 24 hours.

Words of caution: Your safety is always your responsibility but even more so on the Deep Web.

For example, there are “hit man” service links. Most contract killing reports begin: “X approached an undercover police officer in a bar, seeking to hire a contract killer.”

Use caution appropriate to the goods/services you are requesting.

Add Tor Nodes For 2 White Chocolate Mochas (Venti) Per Month

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

I don’t have enough local, reliable bandwidth to run a Tor relay node so I cast about for a remote solution.

David Huerta details in How You Can Help Make Tor Faster for $10 a Month, how you can add a Tor relay node for the cost of 2 White Chocolate Mochas (Venti) per month.

Chris Morran gives the annual numbers as close to $1,100 per year by American workers.

How much privacy does your $1,100 coffee habit buy? None.

Would you spend $1,000/year to sponsor a Tor relay node? Serious question.

Do you have a serious answer?

September 1, 2016 – Increase Tor’s Bandwidth

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Reports of government surveillance and loss of privacy are so common it’s hard to sustain moral outrage over them.

Tor offers involvement to treat impotent moral outrage!

You can donate $$, bandwidth, or volunteer to help the Tor project!

Lose that moral outrage ED! Make a difference at the Tor project!

September 1, 2016 is important because of a call for a 24-hour boycott of Tor on that day.

The use of innocent Tor users as hostages speaks volumes about any boycott of Tor and its supporters.

Dark Web OSINT with Python Part Two: … [Prizes For Unmasking Government Sites?]

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Dark Web OSINT with Python Part Two: SSH Keys and Shodan by Justin.

From the post:

Welcome back good Python soldiers. In Part One of this series we created a wrapper around OnionScan, a fantastic tool created by Sarah Jamie Lewis (@sarajamielewis). If you haven’t read Part One then go do so now. Now that you have a bunch of data (or you downloaded it from here) we want to do some analysis and further intelligence gathering with it. Here are a few objectives we are going to cover in the rest of the series.

  1. Attempt to discover clearnet servers that share SSH fingerprints with hidden services, using Shodan. As part of this we will also analyze whether the same SSH key is shared amongst hidden services.
  2. Map out connections between hidden services, clearnet sites and any IP address leaks.
  3. Discover clusters of sites that are similar based on their index pages, this can help find knockoffs or clones of “legitimate” sites. We’ll use a machine learning library called scikit-learn to achieve this.

The scripts that were created for this series are quick little one-offs, so there is some shared code between each script. Feel free to tighten this up into a function or a module you can import. The goal is to give you little chunks of code that will teach you some basics on how to begin analyzing some of the data and more importantly to give you some ideas on how you can use it for your own purposes.

In this post we are going to look at how to connect hidden services by their SSH public key fingerprints, as well as how to expand our intelligence gathering using Shodan. Let’s get started!

Expand your Dark Web OSINT intell skills!

Being mindful that if you can discover your Dark Web site, so can others.

Anyone awarding Black Hat conference registrations for unmasking government sites on the Dark Web?

Tor Browser User Manual (updated)

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Tor Browser User Manual 6.0.1.

From About Tor Browser:

Tor Browser uses the Tor network to protect your privacy and anonymity. Using the Tor network has two main properties:

  • Your internet activity, including the names and addresses of the websites you visit, will be hidden from your Internet service provider and from anyone watching your connection locally.
  • The operators of the websites and services that you use, and anyone watching them, will see a connection coming from the Tor network instead of your real Internet (IP) address, and will not know who you are unless you explicitly identify yourself.

In addition, Tor Browser is designed to prevent websites from “fingerprinting” or identifying you based on your browser configuration.

By default, Tor Browser does not keep any browsing history. Cookies are only valid for a single session (until Tor Browser is exited or a New Identity is requested).

With intelligence agencies promising to obey laws in future, the saying:

Fool me once,

Shame on you;

Fool me twice,

Shame on me.

comes to mind.

Surf without Tor if you believe liars and law breakers won’t continue to be liars and law breakers, but for the rest of us the rule is:

Tor: Don’t surf the Internet Without It.

OnionRunner, ElasticSearch & Maltego

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

OnionRunner, ElasticSearch & Maltego by Adam Maxwell.

From the post:

Last week Justin Seitz over at released OnionRunner which is basically a python wrapper (because Python is awesome) for the OnionScan tool (

At the bottom of Justin’s blog post he wrote this:

For bonus points you can also push those JSON files into Elasticsearch (or modify to do so on the fly) and analyze the results using Kibana!

Always being up for a challenge I’ve done just that. The script outputs each scan result as a json file, you have two options for loading this into ElasticSearch. You can either load your results after you’ve run a scan or you can load them into ElasticSearch as a scan runs. Now this might sound scary but it’s not, lets tackle each option separately.

A great enhancement to Justin’s original OnionRunner!

You will need a version of Maltego to perform the visualization as described. Not a bad idea to become familiar with Maltego in general.

Data is just data, until it is analyzed.


Tor is released!

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Tor is released!

From the webpage:

Tor has been released! You can download the source from the Tor website. Packages should be available over the next week or so.

Tor is the first stable version of the Tor 0.2.8 series.

The Tor 0.2.8 series improves client bootstrapping performance, completes the authority-side implementation of improved identity keys for relays, and includes numerous bugfixes and performance improvements throughout the program. This release continues to improve the coverage of Tor’s test suite.

Below is a list of the changes since Tor 0.2.7. For a list of only the changes that are new since, please see the ChangeLog file.

Government agencies are upgrading and so should you.

Breaking Honeypots For Fun And Profit – Detecting Deception

Monday, July 4th, 2016

by Dean Sysman & Gadi Evron & Itamar Sher

The description:

We will detect, bypass, and abuse honeypot technologies and solutions, turning them against the defender. We will also release a global map of honeypot deployments, honeypot detection vulnerabilities, and supporting code.

The concept of a honeypot is strong, but the way honeypots are implemented is inherently weak, enabling an attacker to easily detect and bypass them, as well as make use of them for his own purposes. Our methods are analyzing the network protocol completeness and operating system software implementation completeness, and vulnerable code.

As a case study, we will concentrate on platforms deployed in real organizational networks, mapping them globally, and demonstrating how it is possible to both bypass and use these honeypots to the attacker’s advantage.

The slides for the presentation.

This presentation addresses the question of detecting (identifying) a deception.

Detection of the following honeypots discussed:

Artillery: (Updated URL)



Dionaea: (timed out on July 4, 2016)





Identification of an attack was argued to possibly result in the attack being prevented in all anti-attack code, whereas identification of an attacker, could have consequences for the attack as an operation.

Combining an IP address along with other dimensions of identification, say with a topic map, could prove to be a means of sharpening the consequences for attackers.

Of course, I am assuming that at least within an agency, agents share data/insights towards a common objective. That may not be the case in your agency.

While looking for other resources on honeypots, I did find Collection of Awesome Honeypots, dating from December of 2015.

Thomas Jefferson (Too Early For Tor – TEFT)

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Official Presidential portrait of Thomas Jefferson (by Rembrandt Peale, 1800)

Thomas Jefferson lived centuries before the internet and the rise of Tor but he is easy to see as a Tor user.

He was the author of the Declaration of Independence, which if you read the details, is a highly offensive document:

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

Update the language of “For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences” to “Transporting people to Guantanamo Bay prison for unlawful detention” and you have a good example of what FBI wants discussed in clear text.

Make no mistake, the FBI of today, working for George III, would have arrested Thomas Jefferson if it caught wind of the Declaration of Independence. At that time, Jefferson was not the towering figure of liberty that he is today. Then he was the opponent of a nation-state.

Jefferson was too early for Tor but he is the type of person that Tor protects.

Do you want to be on the side of George III or Jefferson in history?

Support Tor!

Outing Dark Web Spies (Donate to Tor)

Sunday, July 3rd, 2016

Two security experts have conducted a study that allowed them to spot over 100 snooping Tor Nodes spying on Dark Web Sites by Pierluigi Paganini.

From the post:

…Joseph Cox from Motherboad reported a study conducted by Guevara Noubir, a professor from the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University, and Amirali Sanatinia, a PhD candidate also from Northeaster who revealed the existence of s number of Tor hidden service directories that are spying on Tor websites. Such kind of attacks could allow law enforcement to discover IP addresses of black markets and child pornography sites.

A similar technique could be very useful also for security firms that offer dark web intelligence services.

Threat actors using this technique could reveal the IP address of Tor hidden services, Noubir will present the results of the research at the Def Con hacking conference in August.

“We create what we call ‘honey onions’ or ‘honions.’ These are onion addresses that we don’t share with anyone,” Noubir said.

The security researchers ran 4,500 honey onions over 72 days, they identified that at least 110 HSDirs have been configured to spy on hidden services.

The experts highlighted that some of the threat actors operating the bogus HSDirs were active observers involved in many activities, including penetration testing.

While Next Generation Onion Services (issue 224), (Montreal 2016 update), is under development, outing dark web spies may be your next best defense.

Your best defense is supporting the Tor project. You support will help it gain and keep the advantage over dark web spies.

By helping Tor, you will be helping all of us, yourself included.

PS: Def Con 24 is August 4-7, 2016, at Paris + Bally’s in Las Vegas. No pre-registration, $240 USD cash at the door.

Hardening the Onion [Other Apps As Well?]

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Tor coders harden the onion against surveillance by Paul Ducklin.

From the post:

A nonet of security researchers are on the warpath to protect the Tor Browser from interfering busybodies.

Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a system that aims to help you be anonymous online by disguising where you are, and where you are heading.

That way, nation-state content blockers, law enforcement agencies, oppressive regimes, intelligence services, cybercrooks, Lizard Squadders or even just overly-inquisitive neighbours can’t easily figure out where you are going when you browse online.

Similarly, sites you browse to can’t easily tell where you came from, so you can avoid being traced back or tracked over time by unscrupulous marketers, social engineers, law enforcement agencies, oppressive regimes, intelligence services, cybercrooks, Lizard Squadders, and so on.

Paul provides a high-level view of Selfrando: Securing the Tor Browser against De-anonymization Exploits by Mauro Conti, et al.

The technique generalizes beyond Tor to GNU Bash 4.3, GNU less 4.58 Nginx 1.8.0, Socat, Thttpd 2.26, and, Google’s Chromium browser.

Given the spend at which defenders play “catch up,” there is much to learn here that will be useful for years to come.


Who Is Special Agent Mark W. Burnett? (FBI)

Monday, May 9th, 2016

In FBI Harassment, Tor developer isis agora lovecruft describes a tale of FBI harrassment, that begins with this business card:


The card was left while no one was at home. At best the business card is a weak indicator of a visitor’s identity. It was later confirmed Mark W. Burnett had visited, in various conversations between counsel and the FBI. See the original post for the harassment story.

What can we find out about Special Agent Mark W. Burnett? Reasoning if the FBI is watching us, we damned sure better be watching them.

The easiest thing to find is that Mark W. Burnett isn’t a “special agent in charge,” as per the FBI webpage for the Los Angeles office. A “special agent in charge” is a higher “rank” than a “special agent.”

Turning to Google, here’s a screenshot of my results:


The first two “hits” are the same Special Agent Mark W. Burnett (the second one requires a password) but the first one says in relevant part:

Special Luncheon Speaker – Mr. Mark W. Burnett, FBI Cyber Special Agent, who will discuss the Bureau’s efforts regarding cyber security measures

The event was:

3rd Annual West Coast Cyber Security Summit
Special Report on Cyber Technology and Its Impact on the Banking Community
The California Club
538 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

If you don’t know the California Club, as the song says “…you aren’t supposed to be here.”

So we know that Mark W. Burnett was working for the FBI in May of 2014.

The third “hit” is someone who says they know a Mark W. Burnett but it doesn’t go any further than that.

The last two “hits” are interesting because they both point to the Congressional Record on February 1, 2010, wherein the Senate confirms the promotion of a “Mark. W. Burnett” to the rank of colonel in the United States Army.

I searched U.S. District Court decisions at Justia but could not find any cases where Mark W. Burnett appeared.

The hand written “desk phone” detracts from the professionalism of the business card. It also indicates that Mark hasn’t been in the Los Angeles office long enough to get better cards.

What do you know about Special Agent Mark W. Burnett?

PS: There are hundreds of FBI agents from Los Angeles on LinkedIn but Mark W. Burnett isn’t one of them. At least not by that name.

Anonymous Chat Service

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

From the description:

The continued effort of governments around the globe to censor our seven sovereign seas has not gone unnoticed. This is why we, once again, raise our Anonymous battle flags to expose their corruption and disrupt their surveillance operations. We are proud to present our new chat service residing within the remote island coves of the deep dark web. The OnionIRC network is designed to allow for full anonymity and we welcome any and all to use it as a hub for anonymous operations, general free speech use, or any project or group concerned about privacy and security looking to build a strong community. We also intend to strengthen our ranks and arm the current and coming generations of internet activists with education. Our plan is to provide virtual classrooms where, on a scheduled basis, ‘teachers’ can give lessons on any number of subjects. This includes, but is not limited to: security culture, various hacking/technical tutorials, history lessons, and promoting how to properly utilize encryption and anonymity software. As always, we do not wish for anyone to rely on our signal alone. As such, we will also be generating comprehensible documentation and instructions on how to create your own Tor hidden-service chat network in order to keep the movement decentralized. Hackers, activists, artists and internet citizens, join us in a collective effort to defend the internet and our privacy.

Come aboard or walk the plank.

We are Anonymous,
we’ve been expecting you.

Protip: This is not a website, it’s an IRC chat server. You must use an IRC chat client to connect. You cannot connect simply through a browser.

Some popular IRC clients are: irssi, weechat, hexchat, mIRC, & many more…

Here is an example guide for connecting with Hexchat:

To access our IRC network you must be connecting through the Tor network!

Either download the Tor browser or install the Tor daemon, then configure your IRC client’s proxy settings to pass through Tor or ‘torify’ your client depending on your setup.

If you are connecting to Tor with the Tor browser, keep in mind that the Tor browser must be open & running for you to pass your IRC client through Tor.

How you configure your client to pass through Tor will vary depending on the client.
Hostname: onionirchubx5363.onion

Port: 6667 No SSL, but don’t worry! Tor connections to hidden-services are end-to-end encrypted already! Thank you based hidden-service gods!

In the near future we will be releasing some more extensive client-specific guides and how-to properly setup Tor for transparent proxying (…) & best use cases.

This is excellent news!

With more good news promised in the near future (watch the video).

Go dark, go very dark!