Judge Decides FBI Does Not Need To Reveal Tor Malware Source Code

The battle between the FBI and privacy advocates is not over yet, as the ruling for revealing the Tor exploit code has been overturned by the look of things. It remains unclear as to how the US government managed to make the federal judge change their mind all of a sudden, but apparently, they succeeded.

Federal Judge Pivots On FBI Tor Exploit Ruling

Back in February of 2016, a federal judge ruled the FBI had to reveal the source code used in the  Tor exploit to hack and track users of the PlayPen platform. For the people who have not been following this story, PlayPen was the world’s largest child pornography platform on the deep web, and several people were arrested by the FBI.

However, Judge Robert J. Bryan ordered the FBI to disclose the malware code used to exploit the Tor protocol and identify these PlayPen users. After all, hacking over one thousand computers is not done with a plug-and-play software tool freely available on the Internet, and the Judge wanted to give the defense every chance to understand how everything went down.

This attack by the FBI was sanctioned through a warrant, but if the malware used in this attack exceeds the legal boundaries of the warrant, the evidence should be deemed unusable. However, the government was not too keen on this idea and succeeded in convincing the federal judge to change his mind. This means the defense attorneys will not be able to thoroughly examine the methods used, and the FBI will get away with whatever they did.

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Although the FBI has admitted they used the Network Investigative Technique, this is still a custom hacking tool purposefully designed to penetrate Tor users. Additionally, this allows law enforcement to obtain users’ real IP addresses and track them down. This same method was used in 2015 when the FBI incorporated the malware used on PlayPen, which led to obtaining thousands of IP addresses.

As one would come to expect, the FBI does not deem it necessary to disclose the details of this malware, as it would not {help determine if the government exceeded the scope of the warrant:. To privacy advocates, this will sound as if the FBI has something to hide, and they don’t want the world to find out.

Source: Dark Web News

Images credit 1,2

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JP Buntinx

JP Buntinx is a FinTech and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium. His passion for finance and technology made him one of the world's leading freelance Bitcoin writers, and he aims to achieve the same level of respect in the FinTech sector.

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