April 2017 Tor Edition

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Tor: The Traffic Analysis and Eavesdropping Solution

Welcome to the Tor Special Edition of McCann Cyber Investigations: Insight Delivered. The articles below detail the anonymous network, including an overview of its history, an explanation of the network’s privacy capabilities, and much more.

  • Tor: The Roots

    Tor, the onion router, was developed by the U.S. Naval Research Lab and DARPA; version 2 was released to the public in 2004 after which the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit centered on defending digital privacy rights, began funding the developers to continue their work on Tor. Two years later, the developers and others formed the nonprofit Tor project in existence today. Originally intended to mask the activity of government personnel on the internet and prevent their activity from being monitored or traced back to them, it is now used by many different organizations and individuals around the world. The U.S. government still uses Tor for several purposes; for example, law enforcement uses it to surveil websites without leaving indications that a law enforcement computer visited the website and intelligence operatives use it to hide their communications, which could otherwise blow their cover.Aside from undercover operations, maintaining privacy is another + READ MORE

  • Tor: The Bulb

    To better understand Tor, it is useful to understand how internet traffic is processed. The following image depicts normal internet traffic, without any protections.  When a person accesses a website, that person’s computer sends packets of information to the website that contain information like who the person is, where the person is, and what that person is doing.  Both the person’s computer and the website’s computer, the server, keep logs of the network traffic. On the person’s computer is a list of all the places that person has visited and on the server is a list of all the people who have visited that website, including what they did there, such as purchasing an item, reading specific articles, etc. This traffic, the back and forth flow of information between the individual and the server is visible to anyone on the network.  For instance, a person connected to the same wifi + READ MORE

  • Tor: The Green Tops

    The future of Tor largely depends on the community; as the number of nodes on the Tor network increases, the security for the entire network increases.  The project site lists a call to action that requests users to consider running a node or volunteering as a developer. There are three kinds of nodes, middle, exit, and bridges.  Middle nodes are those that are not exit nodes. Exit nodes are the final relay point for traffic and the administrator must be prepared to guard against malicious users, deal with complaints, copyright takedown notices, and the possible attention of law enforcement.  Bridges are nodes not listed publicly as part of the Tor network and are used to circumvent censorship where Tor nodes are blocked. On tornews, visitors can answer why they use Tor; the answer choices include: criminal, child porn, carder, privacy advocate, hacker, Russian, terrorist, anarchist, don’t want to be tracked, shop + READ MORE

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