Tor users in the States were hacked by Australian authorities

Tor users in the States were hacked by Australian authorities

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.

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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 is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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