Report: NSA has little success cracking Tor

The agency has attacked other software, including Firefox, in order to compromise the anonymity tool, according to documents

By , IDG News Service |  Security, NSA, privacy

That means "there's no indication they can break the Tor protocol or do traffic analysis on the Tor network," he said in an email. "Infecting the laptop, phone, or desktop is still the easiest way to learn about the human behind the keyboard."

Even with the NSA attacks, Tor can still help protect anonymity, he added. "You can target individuals with browser exploits, but if you attack too many users, somebody's going to notice," he said. "So even if the NSA aims to surveil everyone, everywhere, they have to be a lot more selective about which Tor users they spy on."

But Tor won't keep users safe in all cases, he added. "Browser exploits, large-scale surveillance, and general user security are all challenging topics for the average Internet user," he said. "These attacks make it clear that we, the broader internet community, need to keep working on better security for browsers and other Internet-facing applications."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

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