Tor warns of possible disruption of network by server seizures


The Tor project stated it would encounter attempts to incapacitate its network during the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers.

The project hasn’t yet named the group or agency that is possible to seize its directory authorities, which guide Tor users on the distributed relays list on the network that bounce communications around.

“We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use,” stated “arma” in a post Friday on the Tor project blog. The “arma” developer approach is generally connected to project leader Roger Dingledine.

Instead of taking a direct route from source to destination, data packets on the Tor network, which is designed to mask people’s Internet use, take a random “road” through several relays that cover user actions.

According to the Tor project website, only if an adversary can manipulate a majority of the directory authorities, he can trick the Tor client into using other Tor relays. And according to arma, there’re nine directory authorities covering both the U.S. and Europe, according to arma.

There were not any report of a seizure up to late Sunday. The project said the blog and its Twitter account will be updated with new information.

Users living under repressive regimes look to Tor as an approach to get away with surveillance and censorship. But according to the U.S. Department of Justice, the network has also been used by illegal websites including online sellers of drugs, like the underground drug market Silk Road. A second version of the market, Silk Road 2.0, was launched a few weeks after the first was seized by law enforcement in October 2013.

Millions use the Tor network at their local Internet cafe to stay secure for ordinary Internet surfing, as also  members of law enforcement, banks, diplomatic officials, bloggers and others, according to the Tor project.

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