Several Tor servers mysteriously taken offline

Tor, the secure browser that leaves your traffic and identity as anonymous as you like, is having some difficulty. A cluster of servers in the Netherlands has been taken offline, and it's not immediately clear why. It's also not known if it was the work of law enforcement, or some rogue agency. It could also be a single black-hat hacker who is tying to disrupt service. Thomas White, who runs a large portion of exit nodes for Tor, says they've lost "all servers" under that particular ISP.

The takedown was done physically, though. According to White, "the chassis of the servers was opened and an unknown USB device was plugged in only 30-60 seconds before the connection was broken. From experience I know this trend of activity is similar to the protocol of sophisticated law enforcement who carry out a search and seizure of running servers." He went on to note the likelihood of it actually being law enforcement is lower than originally thought.

White also recommends not using any mirrors, and to exercise caution before logging on and continuing your activity.

Why anyone — law enforcement or not — would be trying to take down Tor is still unknown. This could be an attempt to learn more about how tor works, or to better identify potentially harmful traffic feeding through those servers.

Last month, US and European agencies took down just under 30 sites that were engaging in the trade of illegal services or goods. This takedown may have been related to that effort, but it's not clear at this point.

Via: Ars Technica