Tor users in the States were hacked by Australian authorities

Graham Cluley

Cluley 250 thumb

Joseph Cox at Motherboard writes:

Australian authorities hacked Tor users in the US as part of a child pornography investigation, Motherboard has learned.

The contours of this previously-unreported hacking operation have come to light through recently-filed US court documents. The case highlights how law enforcement around the world are increasingly pursuing targets overseas using hacking tools, raising legal questions around agencies’ reach.

In one case, Australian authorities remotely hacked a computer in Michigan to obtain the suspect’s IP address.

While I’m sure that the vast majority of us are keen for child abuse websites to be shut down, and their users brought to justice, we are not all comfortable with intelligence agencies breaking the law themselves to achieve this.

Legal processes need to be put in place to not only prevent criminals from hacking into systems they shouldn’t and stealing private information, but also to prevent over-zealous law enforcement agents from stepping over the line.

Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.

Also, we need to stop thinking that state-sponsored hacking is something done by the Russians and Chinese against the Americans and the Brits. Or it’s something that the Americans and Brits do against the Russians and Chinese.

The true story is that just about everyone is up to it.

I would be shocked if any even semi-sophisticated intelligence agency anywhere in the world wasn’t using the internet, and methods used by criminal hackers, to spy upon the governments, businesses and citizens of other countries.

Graham Cluley Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Never miss a thing. Sign up for the free GCHQ newsletter from Graham Cluley.
GET UPDATES