FBI To Court: “No, We Won’t Reveal How We Hacked 1000+ TOR Users”


tor-onion-fbi-sweepShort Bytes: FBI is pushing back against the order of a judge on revealing the technique it used to catch the defendant in a case of a dark web child pornography. The judge had ordered the FBI to reveal the full malware code used to hack visitors of a dark web child pornography site.

In a recent incident where FBI cracked the dark web child pornography case, FBI was ordered by a judge to reveal the Tor browser exploit they used to track down the accused.

Backing up their case, FBI lawyers have filed a sealed motion asking the judge to reconsider his decision. They have also provided a public declaration from an FBI agent involved in the investigation to support their case.

FBI agents are saying that their defense is not against revealing the exploit which was used to bypass the protections offered by the Tor Browser. Also, the previous filings were just to determine whether the network investigative technique (NIT)—the FBI’s term for a hacking tool—carried out additional functions beyond those authorised in the warrant.

Also Read: FBI Used Hacking Team’s Help to Track Tor User

In this case, the department of Justice attorneys has also asked FBI to submit a filing which would only be presented to the judge under the motion.

Tsyrklevich claims that he requires access to the government’s ‘exploit’ to determine if the government ‘executed additional functions outside the scope of the NIT warrant.
Special Agent Daniel Alfin writes.

Vlad Tsyrklevich is a malware expert held by the defense to analyse the NIT.

Knowing how someone unlocked the front door provides no information about what that person did after entering the house.

Tsyrklevich has written a declaration after analysing the parts of the NIT that have been disclosed, but the full text of that document remains under seal.

He is wrong. The Discovery of the “exploit” would do nothing to help him determine if the government exceeded the scope of the warrant because it would explain how the NIT was deployed to Michaud’s computer, not what it did once deployed. In layman’s terms, an ‘exploit’ could be thought of as a defect in a lock that would allow someone with the proper tool to unlock it without possessing the key.
— Alfin writes

Knowing how someone unlocked the front door provides no information about what that person did after entering the house. Determining whether the government exceeded the scope of the warrant thus requires an analysis of the NIT instructions delivered to Michaud’s computer, not the method by which they were delivered.

Let’s see how far the case goes and will FBI be forced to present the hacking technique for public open?

Also Read: Tor Director Accuses FBI of Spending $1 Million to Attack Tor Users

Amar Shekhar

Amar Shekhar

A passionate adventure traveller over Trekkerpedia.com and Author of the book 'The Girl from the Woods'.
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