Feeds

Rogue nodes snoop on TOR traffic

Noise on the wire

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

Researchers have uncovered more evidence that the TOR anonymiser network is being misused by hackers, and quite likely government intelligence agencies.

TOR (The Onion Router) is a network of proxy nodes set up to provide some privacy and anonymity to its users. Originally backed by the US Naval Research Laboratory, TOR became an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) project three years ago. The system provides a way for whistleblowers and human rights workers to exchange information with journalists, among other things. The system also provides plenty of scope for mischief.

The presence of rogue nodes on the network was recently highlighted by security researcher Dan Egerstad, who controversially posted details of login credentials of about 1,000 email addresses, including at least 100 accounts belonging to foreign embassies, obtained by listening to traffic passing through five exit nodes under his control. Abuse of the system is far from isolated, other research suggests.

Members of the Teamfurry community discovered TOR exit-nodes that only forwards traffic association with ports used for unencrypted versions of protocols including IMAP and POP email (TCP ports 143 and 110), and IM traffic. Other nodes only relay traffic associated with MySpace or Google searches. The malign purposes behind such a system are fairly easy to guess, while their legitimate use is far trickier to imagine.

"Even though just a suspicious configuration isn’t enough to tag an exit-node evil, I wouldn’t touch these with a ten-foot long toothpick," Teamfurry warns.

Another Tor exit node used fake SSL certificates to run man-in-the-middle phishing attacks. Information on the rogue node was forwarded to German authorities, who moved quickly to take down the node. The node was the only one of 400 nodes tested that was running man-in-the-middle attacks, but as net security firm F-Secure notes, it "only takes one".

TOR is set up such that users have little or no idea who controls the exit nodes their data passes through. For this reason encrypting sensitive traffic sent over the network is the first, but not the only, security precaution for using the network. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.