The FBI Just Admitted to Hacking Into the Tor Network

Just over a month after reports of a malware attack on the anonymous Tor network, the FBI told an Irish court that it was behind the shenanigans. But don't worry, it was for a good cause.

The Tor hack was supposed to target associates of the Freedom Hosting's operator Eric Eoin Marques who's currently being detained in Dublin, Ireland for his involvement in a massive child pornography operation. Freedom Hosting has indeed been under suspicion of allowing kiddie porn on its servers for some time now, but the investigation took a turn for the technical when the Feds exploited a loophole in the version of Firefox that forms the basis for the Tor Browser Bundle.

On August 4, an error message started to appear on all sites hosted by Freedom Hosting. The accompanying hidden code contained a hidden iframe tag loaded with malicious Javascript, including a program file named "Magneto." This code was designed to seek out the hacked computer's MAC address, in an effort to identify the user. If you know anything about Tor, you know that the whole point of the software is to remain anonymous. The IP addresses behind the code pointed to servers in northern Virginia, not far from FBI headquarters.

The fun thing about this case—as with all of the NSA hacking business—is that the Feds' actions appear to be totally legal. It's just another case of a spying agency doing what it was designed to do: spy. And any of the innocent Tor users who were exposed along the way, well, too bad for them. This is America, where we have a right to privacy. Except for when the government says we don't. [Wired]