Feeds

Tor embassy 'hacker' raided by Swedish Feds

Don't want no more of the spyin' game

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A security researcher who revealed how the email accounts of embassies were exposed through the misuse of the Tor anonymiser network has been taken in for questioning by Swedish intelligence agencies.

Dan Egerstad used Tor to obtain the login credentials of about 1,000 email addresses, including at least 100 accounts belonging to foreign embassies, as well as those of large corporations and human rights organisations. Egerstad posted the login details of embassies belonging to Iran, India, Japan, and Russia, among others, in late August. The information, posted on derangedsecurity.com, has since been taken offline. Egerstad disclosed details of how he pulled off the hack in September.

Tor provides a distributed, anonymous network when used properly. Egerstad discovered that by setting up exit nodes he could sniff traffic that wasn't properly encrypted, contrary to Tor's recommendations.

It seems more likely that Egerstad had stumbled on a means by which unknown intelligence agencies were disguising their surveillance activities on hacked accounts rather than widespread misuse of Tor in diplomatic circles. Egerstad's action may have exposed a security problem that would otherwise have lain undiscovered. Nonetheless, his decision to publish login credentials was widely criticised.

On Monday, Egerstad was leaving his Malmo apartment when he was arrested by four plainclothes agents of the Swedish National Police (a domestic intelligence agency) and an agent of the Swedish Security Police (Sweden's CIA). He was taken to the local police station for questioning while two of the agents seized computers, CDs and papers from his house. "It was like out of a bad movie," Egerstad told the Sydney Morning Herald.

During questioning at the station, the police "played every trick in the book, good cop, bad cop, and crazy mysterious guy in the corner not wanting to tell his name and just staring at me."

The discovery of eight PlayStation 2 consoles in his apartment led to accusations of theft against Egerstad.

Egerstad was released without charge but remains under suspicion for computer hacking offences, which he denies. He maintains he simply observed traffic flowing across the internet before drawing attention to an obvious security breach.

Egerstad told Wired that his arrest was sparked by complaints to Sweden by foreign countries. Investigators reportedly confirmed to him that China was one of two countries that complained. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.