Feeds

Tor users locked out of Facebook after wave of dodgy traffic

Don't panic, a solution is at hand

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Users of the Tor traffic anonymizing service are currently locked out of Facebook after a flood of dodgy traffic triggered an automatic lockdown by the social network's security systems.

Given the paranoid post-PRISM times we live, in the outage on Tuesday caused a certain amount of online panic. A report highlighting the issue briefly topped the front page on Reddit, before both Facebook and Tor told users there was nothing to worry about.

"Facebook is not blocking Tor deliberately," a Facebook spokesman told El Reg in a statement. "However, a high volume of malicious activity across Tor exit nodes triggered Facebook's site integrity systems which are designed to protect people who use the service. Tor and Facebook are working together to find a resolution."

Tor too was quick to reassure users that this wasn't the beginning of a crackdown on access to Facebook, although there's no public word yet as to the specific type of traffic that triggered the shutdown. In a blog post, it assured users of Tor systems that it was working with Facebook on this, and that they would be able to get their daily dose of birthday reminders, cat pictures, and web games as soon as the problem was fixed.

There's been a upsurge of interest in the Tor system ever since the revelations by NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden about the extent of domestic and international data surveillance by the US intelligence services. Tor uses a network of proxies to protect some of the activities of their users, but the organization has warned that the system isn't perfect.

"The core Tor software's job is to conceal your identity from your recipient, and to conceal your recipient and your content from observers on your end," it said. "By itself, Tor does not protect the actual communications content once it leaves the Tor network. This can make it useful against some forms of metadata analysis, but this also means Tor is best used in combination with other tools."

The group recommends using the HTTPS Everywhere browser plug-in to encrypt traffic to websites when possible, to do the same with email traffic using TorBirdy and Enigmail, and consider shifting to a decentralized social network such as Diaspora.

That said, a lot of work needs to be done to toughen-up the privacy protection of the Tor system, and the group is running a donations page to fund development and are on the lookout for volunteer coders to help out. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
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
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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.