Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Tor Was Built, Then Hacked by Pentagon

Peter B. Collins presents: Journalist Yasha Levine

Last fall, we learned that one branch of the Navy paid Carnegie-Mellon University researchers to hack into the “onion routing” encryption system called Tor, which was spawned by a different branch of the Navy, the Naval Research Laboratory. The FBI used the hack to penetrate the Dark Web and bust Silk Road 2.0, and Levine asserts that Tor is falsely advertised as impenetrable, and promoted by Ed Snowden. Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald. The judge in the Silk Road 2.0 case wrote that Tor users “are taking a gamble on any real expectation of privacy”. Levine also offers his views on the encryption battle between Apple and the FBI, and updates us on his progress on his new book.

*Yasha Levine is an investigative reporter for Read his latest Tor article here . His new book, Surveillance Valley, is due in 2017.

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  1. Ronald Orovitz says:

    Thanks guys for keeping us updated… Besides promoting Tor on its website, Wikileaks also promotes “Tails”: – as a privacy and anonymity preserving operating system. While certainly anything is better than windows, should we count the claims as false advertising? Would one be automatically red-flagged and tailed simply for using Tails?

    • Tails is just like any Linux. You can boot into the Operating System with a DVD or USB Key. It just comes with a bunch of security programs in it, so you dont have to do any suspicious downloading (although if downloading tails, do it behind proxy or vpn). Also when you boot your PC this way, all Linux distros do not give access to your hard drives without you giving permission. So it’s like the only thing your computer is, is what’s on the DVD or USB key. I for one always use Linux and know how to setup a safe environment, which I force on the 2 people living over me as I give them free internet (I got a ridiculously fast internet for a ridiculously good deal from a new ISP in Canada who uses Fiber Optics to the House (FTTH), so the 2 people in the other condos although have free internet, I force them to use Peerblock and share with them ipfilterX..and I pay 24 euros a year for it, it’s the best firewall possible because it’s a bad peer based list (ie it blocks anything bad imaginable, and they work on it since year 2000, I trust em and so does a lot of people, but I give it to them for free, it all seems to come from one IP so no problem (yeah, don’t go buy the list and share it with all your friends, they will detect it when Peerblock updates). Otherwise they have no surveillance, it’s just a .dat file (which you can open in a txt file with a huge list of IP addresses and what they are, and they release new versions every couple weeks). PeerBlock is for Windows users, I don’t know MacOSX users, in Linux there is IPBlock. If you don’t even intend on using Tor, that’s a good way of controlling what communicates with your computer. And you’ll be surprised at the crap that tries to, even if virus and trojan free.

  2. The way to use tor efficiently is to subscribe to a VPN service established outside not the 5 eyes,but the 14 eyes (some here would know what I’m talking about) which you pay in bitcoin and that asks for nothing but an email address, no personal information, and has very high encryption (speaking 4096 bit RSA) which is US military strength. So you connect through your Linux desktop with a great firewall with an extensive and modified bi-weekly to one of the VPN’s server in UDP mode of course. So now you just picked say Finland, which is not part of the 14 eyes as a server. Then you connect to Tor. Good luck for anybody tracing you, as you will be doing your monthly or whatever purchases of the VPN service while already connected to them, because they offer a 3 day free trial.

    So yeah, as Pearse Redmond was saying, it can be secure, but I would never just download tor from my own IP address to start with, and never start it while not already heavily obsfuscated with a VPN, while connected to a non 14 eyes country, and add in a SOCKS5 proxy on top of that if you’re just doing regular browsing and use Tor for principle. It’s too bad none of them will tell you about this.

    P.S. I don’t even work in computers, I was surrounded with them my whole childhood and teenage years as my dad who is a trucker said “go to school as long as possible and learn all this stuff, it’s how to get rich and don’t be “poor” like your dad. Heh, he wasn’t poor, but truckers do not have a regular life especially if they go on week long hauls, basically only get friday night and saturday off. I ended up in Pharmacology because I find sick people/children to be the saddest thing on earth after doing a year of volunteer work at a government home folk’s home..the horrors I saw there marked me enough. That was during a sabbatical after HS because I wasn’t going to college (even if Canadian colleges are much cheaper) blindly doing something I might not like in the end (and computer programming isn’t one of them).

    Computer programmers aren’t the only ones who can do what I just described. I hope Yasha reads this. My VPN service even includes double vpn, as in it will connect to say a server in Lithuania and then send me back to one in Slovakia. Then you connect to Tor…

    But yeah, it’s frustrating to know how they operate. There are totally open source alternatives like i2p that develop very slowly over the years, but its getting there.

  3. For some reason the download on this thing takes forever to actually ask how do I want to download it. Never been this slow before.

  4. Now it works normally. My connection is really poor.

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