U.S. Defense Department, NSA did not get Tor user data

LAS VEGAS Wed Aug 6, 2014 10:31am IST

An illustration picture shows the logo of the U.S. National Security Agency on the display of an iPhone in Berlin, June 7, 2013. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski/Files

An illustration picture shows the logo of the U.S. National Security Agency on the display of an iPhone in Berlin, June 7, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski/Files

Related Topics

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Defense did not receive personal data on users of Internet privacy service Tor through a government-funded project to detect vulnerabilities, a Defense spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday.

"This particular project was focused on identifying vulnerabilities in Tor, not to collect data that would reveal personal identities of users," said Defense Department spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Valerie Henderson, adding that the National Security Agency also did not receive data.

The project was conducted by two researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University's Software Engineering Institute with funding from the Defense Department.

She did not rule out the FBI or other agencies obtaining the data. The FBI and Carnegie-Mellon declined to comment.

Funded in large part by other arms of the government, Tor hides the Internet protocol addresses of users by routing their traffic through multiple layers of volunteered servers.

In a note last week on Tor's website, Tor Project leader Roger Dingledine said the service had identified computers on its network that had been quietly altering Tor traffic for five months in an attempt to unmask users connecting to what are known as "hidden services," which include drug bazaars and whistleblower sites.

Dingledine said it was likely the attacking computers, which were removed on July 4, had operated on behalf of the Software Engineering Institute team.

He warned then that "users who operated or accessed hidden services from early February through July 4 should assume they were affected."

Dingledine said the physical locations where the hidden services were housed could have been exposed, although probably not which content was viewed by a visitor.

In an email to Reuters, Dingledine said that Carnegie-Mellon had stopped cooperating and would not share more information about the effort.

The researchers had planned to describe their work at the Black Hat security conference that begins Wednesday in Las Vegas but the university cancelled the talk amid the controversy.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn in Las Vegas; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Tech Results

Reuters Showcase

Cyber Attack

Cyber Attack

China-backed hackers may have infiltrated Apple's iCloud - blog.  Full Article 

Fat Paycheck

Fat Paycheck

New Microsoft CEO Nadella's pay tops $80 mln with big stock awards.  Full Article 

Court Case

Court Case

Facebook sues lawyers for pursuing dubious Ceglia lawsuit.  Full Article 

Online Security

Online Security

Wall Street urges U.S. regulators' joint cybersecurity approach  Full Article 

Facebook Stake

Facebook Stake

Fidelity Contrafund loads up on Facebook and it pays off  Full Article 

App for Kids

App for Kids

New apps bring kids' playtime back to real world  Full Article 

'Robotic Eyes'

'Robotic Eyes'

Helps Japan's bipedal bot run faster.  Video 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage