The U.S. National Security Agency has successfully undermined anonymity in the Tor network, according to newly released documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Tor is a technology designed to allow surfing the Internet incognito.
The NSA has used various techniques to identify Tor users, The Washington Post reports, including diverting people attempting to access the Tor network into insecure channels and “staining” traffic on its way into the network, making it identifiable on the way out. The documents suggest that authorities cannot see directly into the Tor network, but that they have unmasked users by cracking security protections at entry and exit points.
However, there is no evidence in the documents to suggest the NSA can access all Tor traffic on a routine basis.
The Tor network was essential to the operation of the Silk Road black market website, which was seized by U.S. authorities following the arrest of the site’s alleged founder.