US government and SCOTUS change cybercrime rules to let cops hack victims' computers

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The Supreme Court -- at the behest of the US government -- has announced changes to "Rule 41," a crucial procedure of the US court system, which will give law enforcement sweeping powers to hack into computers anywhere in the world, including victims' computers, with drastically reduced oversight. Read the rest

Artist installs sculptures that are also Tor nodes in the world's galleries

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Trevor Paglen and Jacob Appelbaum collaborate to create beautiful, acrylic-encased computers that are also Tor nodes, anonymizing data that passes through them, and install the in art galleries all over the world, so that patrons can communicate and browse anonymously, while learning about anonymity and Tor. Read the rest

How libraries can save the Internet of Things from the Web's centralized fate

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Everyone thinks libraries have a positive role to play in the world, but that role differs greatly based on whether you’re talking to a librarian or a patron. Ask a patron what libraries have in common and they’d probably answer: they share books with people. Librarians give a different answer: they share a set of values. It’s time for libraries to step up to those values by supporting access to the Internet and taking the lead in fighting to keep the Internet open, free, and unowned.

Ransomware gets a lot faster by encrypting the master file table instead of the filesystem

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In just a few short years, ransomware -- malware that encrypts all the files on the computer and then charges you for a key to restore them -- has gone from a clever literary device for technothrillers to a cottage industry to an epidemic to a public menace. Read the rest

Security-conscious darkweb crime marketplaces institute world-leading authentication practices

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If you are a seller on Alphabay -- a darkweb site that sells "drugs, stolen data and hacking tools," you'll have to use two-factor authentication (based on PGP/GPG) for all your logins. Read the rest

First-ever Tor node in a Canadian library

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Library workers at Western University's Graduate Resource Centre in London, Ontario, had a workshop from Alison Macrina, the library organiser whose Library Freedom Project won a battle with the US DHS over a library in New Hampshire that was offering a Tor exit node as part of a global network that delivers privacy, censorship resistance, and anonymity to all comers. Read the rest

NH bill would explicitly allow libraries to run Tor exit nodes

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Inspired by the Library Freedom Project's uncompromising bravery in the face of a DHS threat against a town library in Kilton, NH, that was running a Tor exit node to facilitate private, anonymous communication, the New Hampshire legislature is now considering a bill that would explicitly permit public libraries to "allow the installation and use of cryptographic privacy platforms on public library computers for library patrons use." Read the rest

The Torist: a literary journal on the darknet

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The Torist is a newly launched literary journal, edited by University of Utah Communications associate professor Robert W Gehl and a person called GMH, collecting fiction, poetry and non-fiction. It is only available as a file on a Tor hidden service -- a "darkweb" site, protected by the same technology as was used by the likes of Silk Road. Read the rest

Watch Tor traffic flow around the world

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Tor, the internet anonymity network you can use to hide your activity from prying eyes, is beautiful in blue. Torflow is a visualization of the vast amounts of traffic streaming between its many nodes, delineating a map of the internet as it can't otherwise be seen.

You can add and remove activity associated with different components of the Tor network, and then watch as thousands of on-screen particles rapidly drain your mobile device's batteries.

Read the rest

The Tor Project has a new executive director: former EFF director Shari Steele!

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Shari Steele, who served as the executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation for 15 years and built the organization from a six-person shoestring operation that didn't even have an office into a fifty+ person, multimillion-dollar powerhouse, has come out of retirement to serve as the new executive director for the Tor Foundation, which oversees the Tor and Tails privacy/anonymity projects. Read the rest

French PM defies Ministry of Interior, says he won't ban open wifi or Tor

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Despite the French Ministry of Interior's demands to crack down on Internet anonymity, Prime Minister Manual Valls has gone on record saying he won't allow such a thing to pass: Read the rest

French Ministry of Interior wants to ban open wifi, Tor

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A leaked memo from the Ministry sets out new bills it would like to see introduced into the French Parliament as early as next month, setting out an ambitious plan to block privacy tools, something only technically possible by recreating China's Great Firewall in a European democracy, spying on all networked activity to prevent the use of Tor. Read the rest

The Tor project is soliciting donations in its first fundraising drive

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The nonprofit foundation that oversees development on Tor, the anonymity and privacy tool, has launched its first ever major cash fundraiser, seeking support for its crucial work. Read the rest

Did the FBI pay Carnegie Mellon $1 million to identify and attack Tor users?

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Documents published by Vice News: Motherboard and further reporting by Wired News suggest that a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University who canceled their scheduled 2015 BlackHat talk identified Tor hidden servers and visitors, and turned that data over to the FBI.

No matter who the researchers and which institution, it sounds like a serious ethical breach.

First, from VICE, a report which didn't name CMU but revealed that a U.S. University helped the FBI bust Silk Road 2, and suspects in child pornography cases:

An academic institution has been providing information to the FBI that led to the identification of criminal suspects on the dark web, according to court documents reviewed by Motherboard. Those suspects include a staff member of the now-defunct Silk Road 2.0 drug marketplace, and a man charged with possession of child pornography.

It raises questions about the role that academics are playing in the continued crackdown on dark web crime, as well as the fairness of the trials of each suspect, as crucial discovery evidence has allegedly been withheld from both defendants.

Here's a screenshot of the relevant portion of one of the court Documents that Motherboard/Vice News published:

Later today, a followup from Wired about discussion that points the finger directly at CMU:

The Tor Project on Wednesday afternoon sent WIRED a statement from its director Roger Dingledine directly accusing Carnegie Mellon of providing its Tor-breaking research in secret to the FBI in exchange for a payment of “at least $1 million.” And while Carnegie Mellon’s attack had been rumored to have been used in takedowns of dark web drug markets that used Tor’s “hidden service” features to obscure their servers and administrators, Dingledine writes that the researchers’ dragnet was larger, affecting innocent users, too.

Read the rest

HOWTO use Tor Messenger, the new, super-secure/private chat app

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It's still in beta, but Tor Messenger from the Tor Project has security and privacy baked in by design, and it's the easiest method yet devised to use OTR (Off the Record), the gold standard in secure communications. Read the rest

Kilton Library's Tor node is back online

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Kilton, New Hampshire's public library was the first library in the USA to offer an Tor node on its computers, giving its patrons a technological assist in maintaining their privacy and anonymity -- until the DHS sent them a letter demanding that they switch it off.

Now, ninja librarian Alison Macrina has tweeted the good news: "WE'VE DONE IT. THE KILTON LIBRARY WILL TURN THEIR #TOR RELAY BACK ON!!!"

(Image: Tor Project) Read the rest

Free six-part course on encrypting email and securing your network sessions against snooping

Jeff sez, "Tuts+ has made my six part introduction to PGP encryption, email and networking privacy available to readers for free." Read the rest

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