When word that the NSA was monitoring domestic web traffic and emails leaked many bloggers advised their readers to switch to “private” browsers like Tor and their encrypted “anonymized” email service Tormail.
I took the attitude that doing so would only send up a red flag.
Subsequent document leaks showed that I was right. While the feds might ignore normal web and email traffic and simply archive them, encrypted communications trigger closer analysis to find out what the user is trying to hide.
Furthermore, these ‘hidden services’ aka: DarkNet are infamously used by criminals. Freedom Hosting has been connected with child porn and Silkroad linked to drug and international weapons dealers. In both cases, bitcoin is the official currency to transact business through an exchange called OnionBank.
Well, the FBI has taken the first steps to put an end to these cyber shenanigans…
FreedomWeb, an Irish company known for providing hosting for Tor “hidden services” — services reached over the Tor anonymized/encrypted network — has shut down after its owner, Eric Eoin Marques, was arrested over allegations that he had facilitated the spread of child pornography.
Basically, if you are a Tor user and you’ve visited any websites hosted by FreedomWeb in the last few days you got a “down for maintenance” screen. But what you really got was a zero day exploit payload that initially redirected users to an IP address belonging to an unidentified Verizon customer outside Washington, DC.
You can get more technical details here:
btw: If you got any bitcoins, better divest now before they crash and lose all their value. That’s another “bright idea” that I knew wouldn’t last. Sovereign nations will never tolerate currency competition. Especially one billed as being “untraceable.”
There is no such thing as online anonymity anymore, everything you do can tracked back to you if the authorities are willing to invest the resources to do it.