Dutch Researcher’s Tor Node Used During US Political Hacking Spree

The United States is currently mesmerized by potential hacks affecting the political system. Initial assumptions hinted at Russian hackers being involved, but it has remained unclear whether or not that is the case. We do know the hackers breached a Dutch Tor node, owned by Bits of Freedom’s Rejo Zenger. It appears a total of 70 Dutch Tor servers were used during this attack, which makes the investigation even harder.

US Political Hacks Investigation Reveals Tor Involvement

Last week, the FBI published a report related to the latest US political hacks which took place in 2016. Although the report does not reveal any specific information most people weren’t aware of, it was evident the law enforcement agency blamed Russia for the attack. In the report, a list of 900 IP addresses is mentioned, all of which are linked to this hacking spree.

What is rather intriguing is how 140 of those IP addresses belong to Tor servers and nodes. One of these servers is run by Rejo Zenger, an individual working for civil rights organizations Bits of Freedom. Zenger explained to the Dutch media how it is “shameful his service is used for nefarious purposes.”

That being said, Zenger has no plans to halt his Public Tor server offering anytime soon. Anonymity on the internet is a basic necessity, in his opinion, as it is on par with facilitating freedom of speech. That does not mean he shares the same opinion as every single individual who uses his Tor server, but he feels anyone should be able to benefit from additional anonymity while surfing the Web.

To put this news into perspective, the involvement of Tor servers is not surprising by any means. Hackers always try to cover their tracks as much as they can, and using anonymity software makes that a bit easier. Moreover, even without relying on Tor, these political hacks would have been possible, as the Tor protocol does not facilitate hacking.

Although the investigation into these political hacks is still underway, this is another example of how internet infrastructure needs to be secured in a different manner. Granted, it is not possible to create a 100% hack-free world, but that doesn’t mean the creation of a safer Internet is out of reach. The government will need to get involved in this matter, though.

But there is another concern, as the FBI report is greeted with a fair share of skepticism. A lot of experts feel the information in this report is put together hastily and is not necessarily based on hard facts. Additionally, it does not confirm or deny the involvement of Russian state-sponsored hackers. Rest assured this story will continue to develop over the coming months.

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