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Tor warns against possible attacks to disable its anonymiser network, issues a plea
The Tor project has revealed on its blog, that it has heard from trusted sources that a serious attempt may be made in the near future to dismantle the Tor Project. The statement doesn’t identify the source of the alleged threat but warns an attack might come “through the seizure of specialized servers in the network called directory authorities.” Directory authorities is what Tor clients use to learn about the relays that constitute the entire Tor network.
The Tor project dev team normally does not get involved, but in this circumstance it has decided to raise its voice. They have assured all of their users that their anonymity will not be compromised in the event that the network is successfully taken down.
“We hope that this attack doesn’t occur; Tor is used by many good people…. Tor is also used by banks, diplomatic officials, members of law enforcement, bloggers, and many others. Attempts to disable the Tor network would interfere with all of these users, not just ones disliked by the attacker.”
The wide range of Tor users are secure, for now. But the taking down of the network will mean an end to the anonymity of the web, that its users currently enjoy. Tor has released a plea statement to anyone who is listening in an attempt to change the hearts of the attackers. Based on reports, the take down appears to be funded by a nation state but Tor Dev team would not like to reveal the source which tipped it off regarding the attack. Users will remember that Tor has unknown spies within both NSA and GCHQ who seem to warn them every time something connected to Tor is mentioned in the lobbies of the security services.
The original statement made by the Tor Project follows:
The Tor Project has learned that there may be an attempt to incapacitate our network in the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers in the network called directory authorities. (Directory authorities help Tor clients learn the list of relays that make up the Tor network.) We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use.
We hope that this attack doesn’t occur; Tor is used by many good people. If the network is affected, we will immediately inform users via this blog and our Twitter feed @TorProject, along with more information if we become aware of any related risks to Tor users.
The Tor network provides a safe haven from surveillance, censorship, and computer network exploitation for millions of people who live in repressive regimes, including human rights activists in countries such as Iran, Syria, and Russia. People use the Tor network every day to conduct their daily business without fear that their online activities and speech (Facebook posts, email, Twitter feeds) will be tracked and used against them later. Millions more also use the Tor network at their local internet cafe to stay safe for ordinary web browsing.
Tor is also used by banks, diplomatic officials, members of law enforcement, bloggers, and many others. Attempts to disable the Tor network would interfere with all of these users, not just ones disliked by the attacker.
Every person has the right to privacy. This right is a foundation of a democratic society. For example, if Members of the British Parliament or US Congress cannot share ideas and opinions free of government spying, then they cannot remain independent from other branches of government. If journalists are unable to keep their sources confidential, then the ability of the press to check the power of the government is compromised. If human rights workers can’t report evidence of possible crimes against humanity, it is impossible for other bodies to examine this evidence and to react. In the service of justice, we believe that the answer is to open up communication lines for everyone, securely and anonymously.
The Tor network provides online anonymity and privacy that allow freedom for everyone. Like freedom of speech, online privacy is a right for all.
Resource Tor Blog.