Tor Project Hardens Privacy Features, Points to Apple vs. the FBI
There continue to be many people around the globe who want to be able to use the web and messaging systems anonymously, despite the fact that some people want to end Internet anonymity altogether. Typically, the anonymous crowd turns to common tools that can keep their tracks private, and one of the most common tools of all is Tor, an open source tool used all around the world.
Even as Apple continues to make headlines as it squares off with the FBI over privacy issues, Mike Perry, lead developer of the Tor Browser, wrote in a blog post that Tor developers are hardening the Tor system in such a way that people can verify if code has been changed and "eliminate single points of failure." "Even if a government or a criminal obtains our cryptographic keys, our distributed network and its users would be able to detect this fact and report it to us as a security issue," Perry wrote.
"The Tor Project exists to provide privacy and anonymity for millions of people, including human rights defenders across the globe whose lives depend on it. The strong encryption built into our software is essential for their safety."
"Our users face very serious threats. These users include bloggers reporting on drug violence in Latin America; dissidents in China, Russia, and the Middle East; police and military officers who use our software to keep themselves safe on the job; and LGBTI individuals who face persecution nearly everywhere."
"Regardless of the outcome of the Apple decision, we are exploring further ways to eliminate single points of failure, so that even if a government or a criminal obtains our cryptographic keys, our distributed network and its users would be able to detect this fact and report it to us as a security issue."
As Computerworld notes:
"Two cryptographic keys would be required for a tampered version of the Tor Browser to be distributed without at least initially tripping security checks: the SSL/TLS key that secures the connection between a user and Tor Project servers plus the key used to sign a software update."
Tor has been vital in the arena of anonymous communications, and it is worth reading the entirety of Perry's post, including his thoughts on Apple vs. the FBI.