In the wake of Ed Snowden’s revelations there’s been a litany of calls for the widespread adoption of online anonymity tools. One such technology is Tor, which employs a network of Internet relays to hinder the process of attribution. Though advocates openly claim that “Tor still works”1 skepticism is warranted. In fact, anyone risking incarceration in the face of a leveraged intelligence outfit like the NSA would be ill-advised to put all of their eggs in the Tor basket. This is a reality which certain privacy advocates have been soft-pedaling.
Many of you have heard of or used TOR. When the NSA openly acknowledges the existence of TOR and the routing has been proven as corrupt several times, one should wonder what the true intent of TOR is and just who really created and proliferated TOR.
While I have used TOR for some time, when you run a wireshark scan while TOR is running you will find several interesting port pings. Also, when you run a who is on the network outlet ports around the world, you have no idea if the outlet port is any safer than you would be in the USA.
So far there’s no hard evidence that the government has compromised the anonymity of Tor traffic. But some on a Tor-related e-mail list recently pointed out that a substantial chunk of the Tor Project’s 2012 operating budget came from the Department of Defense, which houses the NSA.
Granted, if you are in a country where internet is restricted or limited to certain sites TOR is a huge asset, but in the USA you are simply sniffed, logged, and added to the database for the watch list.
Cryptome has a great article today regarding Tor and security as well http://cryptome.org/2014/07/trusting-tor-not.pdfh