Researcher Reveals That Tor Users Can Be Tracked Based on Their Mouse Movements

Tor might be used by millions of users to protect their identity, but it appears that a serious of tests ran by an independent security researcher shows that your mouse is capable enough to track your movements, and if you were important enough to be located that is. Jose Carlos Norte has published several articles concerning a series of fingerprinting techniques that are effective against Tor Browser users, along with a page demonstrating his research.

According to the researcher, the first technique that can track down a Tor user is the speed at which they scroll through a page using their mouse wheel. This is definitely an effective way to track down movements, but what if there are millions of users who potentially have the same mouse scrolling speed? Turns out that an attacker could still identify patterns in the scroll events based on each individual’s idiosyncrasies.

Furthermore, attackers can log the speed at which users move the mouse cursor across a page. Now, here is where things get really interesting; since each user has their own OS mouse sensitivity preferences and their own preferred set of gestures when using the device, this technique is far more accurate. Now, if you happen to be using a laptop’s trackpad, then it becomes even easier to track your movements. This is because a fingerprint technique can be employed to track you.

The attacker can also scan your entire machine, not just your fingerprint

The independent security researcher also found out that by running a CPU-intensive JavaScript operation in the browser, he could record the time needed to execute the task and use this information later on to pin suspects to a certain computer from where a Tor browser has been used.

However, Norte says that all of these methods depend on the attacker’s ability to measure time in a Tor Browser at the 1-millisecond level, meaning that he will need to have lightning fast reflexes in order to get the job done. So what is the crux of all this information; unless you happen to be desperate to use a Tor browser, refrain from using the browser, especially if you do not want your movements to be tracked.