More information on the malicious software that infected Tor Browser through Freedom Hosting's servers, which were then seized by law-enforcement: it turns out that infected browsers called home to the NSA. Or, at least, to an IP block permanently assigned to the NSA.
Initial investigations traced the address to defense contractor SAIC, which provides a wide range of information technology and C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) support to the Department of Defense. The geolocation of the IP address corresponds to an SAIC facility in Arlington, Virginia.
Further analysis using a DNS record tool from Robotex found that the address was actually part of several blocks of IP addresses permanently assigned to the NSA. This immediately spooked the researchers.
"One researcher contacted us and said, 'Here's the Robotex info. Forget that you heard it from me,'" a member of Baneki who requested he not be identified told Ars.
The use of a hard-coded IP address traceable back to the NSA is either a strange and epic screw-up on the part of someone associated with the agency (possibly a contractor at SAIC) or an intentional calling card as some analyzing the attack have suggested.
Researchers say Tor-targeted malware phoned home to NSA [Sean Gallagher/Ars Technica]
Many years ago, EFF co-founder John Gilmore and I were discussing the prevalence of botnets, which are commonly used to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that overwhelm websites with floods of traffic; John said that if the botnets were really on the rise at the reported rate, we should expect to see a […]
When a computer stops behaving, the solution often involves looking up an obscure command and pasting it into the terminal — even experienced administrators and programmers aren’t immune to this, because remembering the exact syntax for commands you use once every couple years is a choresome task.
A study by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration found that half of American Internet users are “deterred” from engaging in online transactions because of fears over privacy and security breaches.
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