It’s no secret that US and British spy agencies are trying to crack the Tor network, but new information suggests that the agencies’ floundering efforts may be sabotaged from within.
For the uninitiated, Tor is a web browser that anonymizes a person’s identity, location and browsing activity using various technologies — it’s also a known gateway to the so-called “dark-web” that hosts sites like the Silk Road. Naturally, spy organizations see it as a threat, but the Tor Project’s Andrew Lewman says some of the agencies’ employees are undermining their own hacking efforts. “There are plenty of people in both organizations who can anonymously leak data to us and say, maybe you should look ere, maybe you should fix this,” he told the BBC in a recent interview. “And they have.”
Technically, Lewman can’t know if these suggestions are coming from spy agencies, but he says it makes sense. Tor’s anonymous bug reporting system makes it impossible to tell where the reports come from, but the issues that are coming in are so granular, he says, they have to be coming from users who have spent hundreds of hours scrutinizing Tor’s source code.
“It’s a hunch,” Lewman admits, but he’s convinced it’s accurate. NSA whistleblower William Binney has reportedly told Lewman that NSA employees are upset by the organizations activity recently, and may be leaking data to Tor as a subtle retaliation.