Tor Developers Being Used by FEDS to Catch Deep Web Users

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Daily Dot reported that a person by name Matthew Edman, who was formerly apart-time at the Tor Project, helped the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) by developing the malware Torsploit.

Edman created the malware after leaving the Tor project and the FBI used it to deanonymize the Tor network users.

Your TOR usage is being watched

On being contacted by the Daily Dot, the Tor Project reportedly confirmed vide a statement that it has come to their attention that Edman, who used to work with them until 2009, has subsequently been engaged by a defense contractor working for the Bureau for the purpose of developing anti-Tor malware.

In 2008, Edman became a member of the Tor Project team when he was still pursuing his studies at the Baylor University.

He worked on Vidalia, a project that is currently defunct.

Vidalia, a simple graphical user interface (GUI), enabled normal Tor users to deploy as well as manage Tor connections easily through their computers.

Subsequently, Edman pursued a Ph.D. in computer science and obtained the degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2011.

However, Edman continued to be a part of the pro-privacy community and he attended developer meetings and contributed to the development of Vidalia.

He wrote as well as contributed a great deal to research papers along with the Tor creators and helped other team members in building privacy tools.

Tor Project also informed the Daily Dot that the only software to which he was able to make changes was Vidalia.

In 2013, the work on Vidalia was stopped by the Tor leadership and replaced it with other tools that are designed to further improve the experience of the users.

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However, by 2012, Edman started working as a senior engineer (cyber-security) with the Mitre Corporation.

However, the fact that many people are not aware of is that the Corporation, which was involved in the management of the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures database, is also a full-fledged cyber-security as well as defense contractor.

Mitre Corporation has a turnover of approximately $1.5 billion annually with most of it coming in through government contracts.

Edman and Torsploit malware

It was during this time that Edman developed the deep web deanonymizing malware Torsploit (also referred to by the name Cornhusker malware) in association with a number of FBI agents.

In the Operation Torpedo sting, the FBI made use of this malware to identify the deep web users.

The FBI also deployed the Torsploit malware on a deep web portal that offered child pornography.

FBI agents operated by packing the deep web deanonymizing software developed by Edman within a Flash file and placing it on the site.

If the users who accessed the site had enabled Flash in the Tor Browser, the malware would identify the real IP address of the user and then forward the same to the servers of the along with a timestamp.

The FBI made use of this information to find out the identity of as many as 25 suspects and the agency has convicted 19 of them up until now.

Following this, the FBI started making use of other malware as well and it is believed by many that the agency is secretly employing an exploit in Tor Browser that is capable of working even in Firefox browser.

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Torsploit Source Code Lost by FBI

One of the suspected deep web operators wanted to have the Torsploit malware checked by his team of technical experts and lawyers in order to validate its accuracy and operation.

This raked up a controversy and the answer given by the FBI to this poser from the suspect was compared with that of a fourth grader saying that his homework was eaten up by his dog.

The officials at the FBI stated that the source code has been lost.

However, Edman continued to collaborate with the FBI.

He has even been recognized for helping the agency in bringing down the deep web marketplace Silk Road.

It is strongly believed that Edman had a major role to play in tracking down the deep web operations and Bitcoin transactions of Ross Ulbricht.

In the last few years, Edman has been working with Bloomberg and FTI Consulting.

Currently, he is working with the Berkeley Research Group as one of its key executives.

In fact, he works along with three of the former FBI agents as well as a former federal prosecutor, all of whom have worked on the case of the deep web marketplace Silk Road.

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