Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Beware of Tor Browser: Hacked?

Food for thought. It was about a year ago that a man who was a member of a "human rights group"  was chatting online on a weekly open forum on Talk Shoe.  The weekly chat was also a live phone in where "targeted individuals" aka "TI's" could come together to discuss their targeting.  The discussion on one particular podcast got on the subject of the Tor Browser.  I had never heard of Tor Browser before then and figured I'd give it a try.  Perfect for anonymity, I thought.

Since starting using Tor for about a year now, (I've since stopped using Tor) Well, maybe.. I discovered some interesting revelations. I was noticing that every email I sent out with Tor Browser, I wasn't ever getting a response from my recipient. But most recently, when I tried to contact a foreign embassy, my emails were bounced back to me saying "message refused" and 
"timed out."

Why would an embassy do this?  I suspect it was not the embassy but the US Government that did this. Why?  Because our government doesn't want us to freely communicate with foreign embassies especially if the one contacting them is and has been under surveillance for many many years. 

I didn't just take for granted that this was the case. I wanted to test my theory. My colleague and I took a trip to New York City. My mission was to get to the embassy that I sent the emails.  Once inside the foreign consulate I was approached by a very nice man who asked me why I had come to see them.  I told the man that I had sent emails and wondered if perhaps the embassy would refuse emails.  I was told that the embassy receives many emails and answers who they want to answer but does not "refuse emails." 

What's even more interesting to note is that when I answered a somewhat well known internet security reporter on Twitter recently, telling him in a tweet that the Tor Browser was most likely unsafe to use and it had been compromised, the reporter tweeted back, somewhat angrily, most likely half-baked, that Tor network 'was safe' and to "cite your sources."  The tweet by this reporter was quickly deleted and what I suspect to be a crude attempt at a cover up ensued.  I suspect this reporter had his friend tweet mere moments later:  "why did you delete my tweet?" The reporter tweeted back that he regularly deletes non important tweets. Alas, my "unimportant Tor was hacked" tweet and his middle of the night response also gets deleted along with his friends innocuous tweet.

I'm not sharing the Tweets between this 'reporter,' and myself, because I don't want to embarrass him.  Besides, sending a Tweet in a dark, half-lit, smoky pot filled room at 4 in the morning merits and elicits cutting some slack.
I'll cut this "internet security reporter" some more slack. Maybe the reporter read my Twitter bio after tweeting me and got "cold feet?" I'm on the Twitter "do not respond black list."

"Would like to hear a discussion by Congress about American citizens who allege to being covertly targeted by their government in unconstitutional& inhumane ways"

What I find even more disturbing than Tor Browser being possibly hacked by the government is the thought that these reporters we entrust to bring us unbiased reporting might actually be Disinfo government operatives disguised as reporters.  Who remembers Operation Mockingbird? You really think that they would stop doing it? No, it's become a main focus of strategy. Are some of these "internet security reporters" actually encouraging the use of the Tor Browser in order for the gov't to entrap Tor users for possible criminal prosecution?  A couple of thoughts to also consider: Tor Browser was created by our government.  And if anyone should know how to hack into Tor, is it a far stretch to think the creators of Tor would know?  And by the way, the "human rights group" that I received the information that Tor Browser was safe, (even though I knew of Tor years before;) I have come under the sad realization that it to is most likely a government Disinfo group.