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Posts Tagged ‘Yoni Heisler

Can break Tor anonymity without even touching encryption?  MIT researchers

Before the arrest of Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht made headlines a few years ago, most everyday web users had never heard of Tor.

Originally developed by US Naval Research Laboratory employees, Tor (an acronym for “The Onion Router”) is a popular piece of software designed to enable truly anonymous communications online.

Today, it’s estimated that approximately 2.5 million users use Tor on a daily basis.

DON’T MISS: Why does every Android phone company think it can be Apple?

Highlighting Tor’s robust privacy features, a leaked NSA presentation titled ‘Tor Stinks’, courtesy of Edward Snowden of course, reads in part:

We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time. With manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users.

The presentation further added that the NSA, at that point in time, was unsuccessful in its efforts to identify an individual anonymous user in response to specific requests.

Suffice it to say, Tor is pretty secure as far as keeping exploits on the web as private as can be.

Nonetheless, researchers at MIT and the Qatar Computing Research Institute have come up with a clever way to track what users on Tor are up to.

ExtremeTech reports:

[Tor] offers anonymous access to online resources by passing user requests through multiple layers of encrypted connections. It all starts at the entry node, sometimes called the guard. That’s the only system that knows your real IP address, but the next node in the chain only knows the IP of the entry node, the next only knows the previous node’s address, and so on until you reach the destination.

The attack targets the previously mentioned entry nodes, as have several attacks in the past. Basically, the attacker sets up a computer on the Tor network as an entry node and waits for people to send requests through it. When a connection is established over Tor, a lot of data is sent back and forth.

MIT researchers used machine learning algorithms to monitor that data and count the packets. Using only this metric, the system can determine with 99% accuracy what kind of resource the user is accessing (i.e. the open web, a hidden service, and so on).

All of this without even having to break encryption.

The report further adds that researchers achieved an 88% success rate when attempting to compromise Tor’s hidden services, a feature which protects the specific identification of websites a user is accessing.

The researchers involved plan to discuss Tor’s software vulnerabilities next month at the Usenix Security Symposium. Notably, the researchers have also come up with some proper defenses to their published attacks and have been in contact with representatives of the Tor project about implementing them.

Andrew Bossone shared this link

Like u were sayin Muhammad Radwan

Before the arrest of Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht made headlines a few years ago, most everyday web users had never heard of Tor. Originally developed by…|By Yoni Heisler

Secure and Anonymous Wi-Fi:  2.5-mile Range

Next month during the Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas, security researcher Ben Caudill will unveil a potentially game changing device called a ProxyHam.

Without question, the promise of ProxyHam should leave proponents of Internet privacy and anonymity beyond excited.

By relying upon a 900 MHz radio connection, Caudill’s device effectively serves as a long-distance Wi-Fi router.

Specifically, the ProxyHam can transmit a Wi-Fi connection up to a distance of 2.5 miles in ideal conditions.

As a result, even in scenarios where authorities manage to track down a target’s Internet connection, they might arrive on the scene (presumably a location with public w-fi access) only to find a ProxyHam device transmitting a low level signal perhaps thousands of feet away in any direction.

The event description for Caudill’s upcoming Def Con talk reads:

While a range of technologies (such as ToR) can provide some level of anonymity, a fundamental flaw still exists: a direct relationship between IP address and physical location.

If your true IP is ever uncovered, it’s game over – a significant threat when your adversary owns the infrastructure.

To resolve this issue, I present ProxyHam, a hardware device which utilizes both WiFi and the 900Mhz band to act as a hardware proxy, routing local traffic through a far-off wireless network – and significantly increasing the difficulty in identifying the true source of the traffic.

In addition to a demonstration of the device itself, full hardware schematics and code will be made freely available.

Speaking to Motherboard, Caudill explained that his device is ideally intended to be used as a complement to other privacy-oriented tools like Tor.

“We consider this the last or worst case scenario,” Caudill said, “the absolute fallback plan if everything else fails.”

As for the device itself, it’s comprised of a Wi-Fi enabled Raspberry Pi computer along with a setup consisting of three antennas.

One antenna, naturally, is tasked with connecting to a source Wi-Fi network.

The other two antennas work to transmit the Wi-Fi signal at a 900 MHz frequency.

In order to pick up the long-range signal, users will need to plug a 900 MHz antenna into their computer, which will leave your setup looking a little something like this.

Not exactly the epitome of mobility, but hey, it seems like a reasonable trade-off to us.

proxyham 900 mhz wifi shot
Image source: Adam Cohn

A Wired report sheds some more light on what makes ProxyHam so effective.

To avoid radio detection on the user’s end, ProxyHam’s wireless signals are designed to look indistinguishable from the many cordless telephones that use the same frequency.

And Caudill says the rise of more internet-connected wireless gadgets will provide further cover for ProxyHam users over time.

“There are a ton of devices jumping into that space and communicating there,” he says. “It’s not feasible to say ‘we’ll chase down everyone who has this device communicating on this frequency.’ It’s a needle in a haystack.”

For instance, some common items that communicate via 900 MHz frequencies include baby monitors and walkie talkies.

As for how ProxyHam might evolve in the future, Caudill tells Motherboard that he and his team are working to make the ProxyHam contraption less conspicuous.

Future iterations, for instance, might be small enough as to mimic the outward appearance of a book.

“If you throw this in a library it would take you years to be able to identify it,” Caudill said.

It’ll undoubtedly be interesting to hear more about ProxyHam once Caudill officially introduces the device at Def Con 2015, an event slated to kick off on August 6.

Andrew Bossone  shared and commented on this link.

Have fun.

Next month during the Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas, security researcher Ben Caudill will unveil a potentially game changing device called a…|By Yoni Heisler




March 2023

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