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Re: [tor-talk] New Astoria Tor client is said to be better than plain Tor
On Sun, May 24, 2015 at 8:35 AM, Sophie Hassfurther <
> Hi Rishab,
> Rishab Nithyanand:
> > I would like to stress that most of the news articles I've come across
> > some incorrect claims. It is sad that none of them got in touch with us
> > before publishing their stories.
> I had the same impression. I do not know the author, but I read your
> paper and checked it back with the article . It made me think that
> the latter is quite inaccurate. Even when journalists are well meaning,
> they sometimes tend to over-simplify in an effort to put things in terms
> that people will understand.
> The most striking part of the article for me was this:
> "A full 58 percent of Tor circuits are vulnerable to network-level
> attackers, such as the NSA or Britain’s Government Communications
> Headquarters (GCHQ), when they access popular websites, according to new
> research from American and Israeli academics. Chinese users are the most
> vulnerable of all to these kinds of attacks, with researchers finding
> 85.7 percent of all Tor circuits from the country to be vulnerable.
> Even though Tor is designed to provide complete anonymity to its users,
> the NSA’s position means they can potentially see and measure both
> traffic entering the Tor network and the traffic that comes out. When an
> intelligence agency can see both, simple statistics help an autonomous
> system at their control match the data up in a timing attack and
> discover the identity of the sender.
> Anonymity over."
> The author makes it sound as if all Tor traffic was vulnerable to
> attacks by the infamous agencies in two out of three times. And looking
> into my magic crystal ball, I know which media will quote that exact
> fallacy as a fact and exploit it.
> I read your paper, but I am not sure I comprehended it. From how I
> understand it, this section of the Dailydot article should read
> something like:
> A full 58 percent of the *times* Tor creates a circuit, it creates it in
> such a way that, *if* a potential adversary, such as the NSA or
> Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), operates the
> relays chosen in an autonomous system, they could deanonymize users who
> access popular websites, according to new research from American and
> Israeli academics. Chinese users are the most vulnerable of all to these
> kinds of attacks, with researchers finding 85.7 percent of all Tor
> circuits from the country to be vulnerable.
> Then he goes on about what intelligence agencies can do, not taking into
> account, that they would have to operate a huge part of Tor to achieve
> the 58 or 85.7 percent he quotes earlier. This is critical, as it
> becomes more and more difficult to own a large part of this network, due
> to its decentralized nature and due to the fact that Tor grows.
> Am I mistaken?
That is the biggest problem I have with that article!
58.7% of the time there was *some* AS that could do a correlation attack.
the NSA or whatever 3 letter agency controlled *all* of those ASes (quite a
number that I don't have right now), they wouldn't be able to attack all of
The author of the article basically attributes the sum of all the threats
potential attackers to a single attacker (the NSA).
> This is a very complex matter, but *if* I understood the paper
> correctly, I think it is quite a hip research, and interesting
> conclusions are drawn.
>  https://www.dailydot.com/politics/tor-astoria-timing-attack-client/
> Mag. Sophie Hassfurther
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