Srp 14

Network Engineer Tries to Thwart UK Bill That Plans to Expand Surveillance State

Source: bitcoin

Network Engineer Tries to Thwart UK Bill That Plans to Expand Surveillance State

As the UK parliament is on the precipice of passing a new surveillance bill into law, one British engineer is trying to halt its progress through an anonymizing system that runs on top of the Tor anonymity network.

Also read: Blockstream Welcomes New Members to Their Team, Hires On Christian Decker

OnionDSL: The Tor-based ISP

British lawmakers are on the verge of passing a new law that expands the government’s ability to snoop on its citizens, and one network engineer believes he has a way to counter it.

The bill, which is championed by current Prime Minister Theresa May, generally aims to implement mass government surveillance throughout the UK.

Also called “Snoopers’ Charter,’ the bill’s provisions includes, among other things, requiring all ISPs in the country to keep tabs on client’s internet activity. The statute would make it mandatory for internet service providers to maintain Internet Connection Records for up to one year, and within that time must hand them over to authorities upon request.

While the controversial bill also mandates other things that are also not very favorable to privacy, it is the ISP requirements that have really got the attention of network engineer, Gareth Llewelyn, who is preparing a potential defense.

Llewelyn’s project is an anonymous ISP system that runs on Tor, which he began creating earlier this year. He presented his OnionDSL system at the HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference last month in New York. His hope is that it will make it almost impossible for the government to censor content.

To take advantage of this service, a broadband connection will have to be physically moved over to Brass Horn Communication, which is Llewelyn’s non-profit, one-man, Tor-based internet service provider. Unlike normal ISPs, the Brass Horn routing system prevents the ISP that’s run over Tor from keeping any web browsing logs. Thus, making the ISP incapable of abiding by the bill’s provision requiring it to keep customer records.

Additionally, A subscriber’s home router or PC must be configured to connect with the Tor bridge private gateway. Traffic then bounces as it normally would across the Tor network, effectively anonymizing internet activities.

Llewelyn may have produced a foolproof system to get around the bill’s ISP record keeping provisions. However, that’s assuming he will be able to get the money to fund his project in the first place because, as of right now, he has admitted that the anonymous, Tor-based project is more of a proof-of-concept that is nothing more than an act of protest against the mass surveillance laws.

What do you think of Llewelyn’s proof-of-concept for his Tor-based ISP? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Tor,

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Network Engineer Tries to Thwart UK Bill That Plans to Expand Surveillance State

Kvě 23

The Torist Is A Literary Magazine Hosted On The Deep Web

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Literary Magazine

A new online magazine called The Torist has surfaced, and it wants to rectify some of the most common misconceptions regarding the deep web. Very few people are aware over half the sites on the deep web are perfectly legal under US law.

Also read: Lisk Gears Up for May 24th Launch

The Torist Issue One Is Available Now

The term deep web has a lot of negative connotations these days, as people often associate the term with drug trafficking, child pornography, and other illegal activities. The Torist, a newly created deep web magazine, wants to rectify this situation, as there are plenty of legal reasons to use the deep web these days.

In fact, The Torist is the very first literary magazine on the deep web, which is a significant milestone for this technology. Very few people are aware that, according to the magazine writers, over half of the deep web websites are entirely legal under US law. One of the prime examples of a legitimate website is Facebook, which is being accessed through deep web software by over one million users.

Although there is a lot of discussion regarding illegal activity taking place on the deep web these days, it is also a home for political resistance and rebellion. Consumers and enterprises tend to dismiss any form of technology that is not embraced by a mainstream audience, and both Bitcoin and the deep web seem to be prime examples of that attitude.

American University Communications Professor Aram Sinnreich stated:

“The notion that Tor is only good for buying ecstasy from a stranger is just not an accurate description of the platform’s capabilities. Someone might come to Tor to see a movie they don’t want to pay for, but it also allows them to get access to political communications and ideas that are being systematically excluded from the clear internet.”

The Torist is a magazine that can go a long way in rectifying these misconceptions regarding the deep web and Tor software. People who value privacy and anonymity on the Internet, as well as free access to uncensored content, will flock to these solutions for legitimate purposes. Accessing The Torist can be done through the deep web, and users can follow their Twitter account for the latest updates.

What are your thoughts on a literary magazine for the deep web? Will you be checking out The Torist? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Deep Dot Web

Images courtesy of The Torist, Shutterstock

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The Torist Is A Literary Magazine Hosted On The Deep Web

Kvě 10

OpenBazaar’s ‘Ambitious Destination’

Source: bitcoin


The OpenBazaar team has released its roadmap to the public via a Medium blog post and a picture of the company Trello board. The decentralized marketplace had “received a better than expected response,” and has gained visitors from all across the globe. With this, the company thought it would let the community know the upcoming development plans for the future.

Also read: BitcoinAverage: Craig Wright Can’t Keep Bitcoin Down For Long

“Today we’re releasing our high-level roadmap for OpenBazaar, — Our mission is to make trade free for everyone, everywhere. Our vision is for OpenBazaar to become Commerce 2.0: a permissionless and censorship-resistant protocol for global trade using Bitcoin.”

OpenBazaar’s 1-2 Year Roadmap

The developers of OpenBazaar say the roadmap goals are an “ambitious destination” that will likely take 1-2 years. The team tells the community the project is fully open source and users are invited to join the Slack group to help contribute. Additionally, they write the roadmap is called “high level” and some expansions include “important platforms such as mobile.” The outline detailed in the OpenBazaar blog says there constant ongoing commitments of which some are short term, medium, and long-term goals.  

Some of the long-term achievements the team wants to tackle are improving the moderation system, reputation enhancement, listing flexibility, discovery search, and more privacy. The OpenBazaar developers intend to enable Tor and other privacy-centric features after additional development is added. OpenBazaar states, “Going forward, we will be upgrading the network backend to IPFS, which is discussed in greater detail below. This upgrade will be a significant step forward to eventually integrating Tor.” Short term deployments for the decentralized marketplace include:

  • Email notifications
  • Webhooks
  • Backups
  • Order management
  • Inventory management
  • Order process UI
  • Sales control center improvements
  • Advanced digital goods
  • Blockchain ID on-boarding

Some medium-term goals include “big ticket” items such as an Interplanetary File System (IPFS). The protocol is a hypermedia for building distributed file systems, and would be an extension to the OpenBazaar network architecture. This feature would act like BitTorrent says OpenBazaar and the developers say, “when you visit another user’s store, your node will download and begin seeding that store data to other users.” The new framework will benefit users a great deal with enhanced censorship resistance, persistent content, multi-transport, local connections, and improved DHT implementation.

Additionally, OpenBazaar developers want to add advanced messaging that are encrypted and sent in real-time. The team also wants to add a full featured Bitcoin wallet integrated into the platform. OpenBazaar says the goal is to help new Bitcoin users manage the cryptocurrency on the site. The decentralized marketplace blog states:

“OpenBazaar uses a basic BIP32 wallet to manage multisignature escrow transactions in a user-friendly way. Ultimately, we want to include a full featured wallet in the application. The goal here is to make it easier for users to manage their Bitcoin (especially those that are new to Bitcoin) and incur fewer bitcoin transaction fees when transferring funds out of the app.”

Lastly OpenBazaar says it will be fully compatible with off chain proposals such as the Lightning Network and Segregated Witness. The team also details it will be working on a mobile app noting that, “mobile is eating eCommerce like software is eating the world.” They plan to launch a client-only mobile application and hope that it “empowers users” to manage their node.

The decentralized marketplace has a lot of work to accomplish and many community members are supporting its future stake in the new economy. The company got a lot of honourable mentions at the recent CoinDesk Consensus 2016 event and completing a roadmap like this one will bring the team quite a few more.

What do you think about OpenBazaar’s roadmap? Let us know in the comments below.   

Images via OpenBazaar Websites, and its associated blog


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OpenBazaar’s ‘Ambitious Destination’

Dub 21

FBI Used Invalid Warrant To Infect Tor Website With Malware

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Tor Hack Malware

Malware is a grave threat to computer users all over the world, and even law enforcement does not shy away from using this technique to hack Tor and obtain sensitive information. But at a recent Massachusetts court has determined, this method of acquiring evidence is not legal.

Also read: Duo Search Is A Search Engine For OpenBazaar

Evidence Acquired Through Tor Hack Thrown Out

Even though the malware threat against consumers is worrying enough when internet criminals are involved, it becomes even more disconcerting when law enforcement decides to join the party. The FBI recently acquired a substantial amount of evidence in a child porn case and presented this information in court not too long ago.

But that was not to the liking of the Massachusetts court, as they threw out all of this evidence. Law enforcement hacking operations are not entirely new, although they are hardly an excuse to disallow evidence from being presented in court. In fact this decision marks the first time a court denies evidence obtained through a cyber attack by law enforcement.

Some people may recall how the FBI took control of a child porn service called Playpen not that long ago. This service, only accessible through the Tor protocol, was infiltrated to gain access to pedophiles’ computers all over the world. By collecting several thousand IP addresses, the FBI managed to arrest a significant amount of pedophiles in the US.

However, asking permission to hack computers belonging to Playpen users required approval from a district judge, rather than a magistrate. This puts an interesting spotlight on why this particular magistrate authorized the Tor hack, as he does not have the legal right to do so. Moreover, there are several different district judges housed in the same building as this magistrate.

This invalid search warrant results in most of the evidence in this case being thrown out. Considering how the FBI added malware to the Playpen site to infiltrate other computers, none of the information gathered during this attack can be used. For now, only one of the people arrested has pointed out this issue, but it is not unlikely others will follow suit.

It is not the first time the FBI is involved in a Tor breach. Just a few weeks ago, one judge ruled how the FBI and Carnegie Mellon University were in cahoots to breach the Silk Road marketplace, which eventually lead to the arrest of Ross Ulbricht. It is clear for everyone to see US law enforcement is taking a lot of liberties when it comes to cyber security and hacking, but their free reign might be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

What are your thoughts on the court throwing out this evidence? Will this lead to more thorough investigations as to how law enforcement gathers data? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Engadget

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, FBI

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FBI Used Invalid Warrant To Infect Tor Website With Malware

Úno 03

Bitcoin Mixing Services Were Never Meant to Be A Part of Digital Currency

Source: bitcoin


Whether or not Bitcoin mixing services will ever be very useful to the Bitcoin ecosystem, remains to be seen for now. Digital currency was never intended to be anonymous, and any service claiming to provide something else requires users to put their funds and faith into the hands of a third party. Plus, users have to rely on Tor to access certain Bitcoin mixing services, which only makes the whole process even more complicated. Not to mention how there is always a risk of losing funds.

Also read: Six Ethereum Projects and its Five Competitors

Bitcoin Mixing Is Not For Everybody

There are several ways to go about using a Bitcoin mixing service. First and foremost, most of these services will offer a web interface users can access without any trouble. Just fill in the details, send the funds, and Bob’s your uncle. All in all, this process takes less than five minutes, and will ensure your coins are mixed and untraceable to the original address you sent them from.

But for those users who want to be part of an entirely anonymous Bitcoin mixing experience, extra steps will need to be taken. Most users will opt to make use of Tor, an Internet protocol that will allow users to access the part of the Internet not index by search engines, also known as the Dark Web. A lot of websites on the Dark Web are less than legitimate, to say the last, and apparently, Bitcoin mixing services fall into that category as well, due to their potential for money laundering.

This is where things can get quite confusing very fast, as the Tor protocol is vastly different from a regular browsing experience. Accessing platforms and web pages on the Dark Web not as easy as entering “”, for example. Any error in the Tor website address can redirect users to an identical copy of the right site, but the results will be vastly different.

One of the only ways to ensure Tor users visit the page they are looking for is by enforcing HTTPS connections. Doing so ensures only whitelist websites can be accessed, and even if the user came across a scam site, they would see a significant warning sign in the browser window itself.

It is clear for anyone to see there are quite a few different technical hoops one must jump through to anonymize a Bitcoin balance. On top of that, users have to put their faith in the Bitcoin mixing service itself, as there are no guarantees funds will ever arrive at their destination.

Bitcoin Was Never Meant To Be Anonymous

When it comes to Bitcoin itself, the modern digital currency was clearly never intended to be used in an anonymous way. With transactions recorded on a public ledger visible to the entire world, it is all but impossible to hide where funds come from and go to. One way to bypass this “limitation” is by using a Bitcoin mixing service.

But herein lies another problem, as Bitcoin is all about decentralization and removing the need for third-party service providers. Every Bitcoin mixing service is a third party, and their business model does not stroke with the original goal of Bitcoin. Users are put in full control of their finances, and that means giving up any thoughts of anonymity one might have.

What are your thoughts on Bitcoin mixing services and Tor? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Reddit

Images courtesy of Tor, Shutterstock

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Bitcoin Mixing Services Were Never Meant to Be A Part of Digital Currency