News from Kaspersky Lab: Tor is protecting criminals

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In a previous article I wrote a bit about Tor. Free browser, relays bouncing your IP all over the world. Guaranteed anonymity. This is a continuation of that article, sort of. Linux users know a lot about the Web and how to use it effectively, beyond Google and Wikipedia. And it’s a marvelous tool. But it has its darker side. 900 botnets and darknet markets they reckon. Large scale criminal use and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Last year 5500 nodes (relays) and 1000 exit nodes make the monitoring of the users untraceable.

The famous Silk Road market got attacked for a while and got shut down but it’s currently open. The hotspot for drugs, gun and all kinds of illegal items and services it served a worldwide audience for 3 years already. Accessed only through Tor it makes Tor more than a little suspect by association. A lot of money gets through the Silk Road every month and moved around the world. That ties nicely with Bitcoins and other laundering methods, but this is an article about Tor and Kaspersky Lab, not a how to break international laws.

The millions of users of Tor are in their majority, innocent bystanders who are tired of Internet monitoring and using proxy servers to avoid it. But a few rotten apples spoil the barrel. A dramatic surge in malware is detected and now Android bots are taking advantage of it. The popularity of Tor is growing every day in leaps and bounds (On September 2013 it went from a million users to well over 5 million in the space of a week) and we have to wonder, is it because Tor is useful or is it because criminals find it handy? In any case regular users beware, because malware can infect your computer and mess it up really bad. This newfound rise of malware was caught by Kaspersky Lab but we have to wonder something else too. An antivirus company finding malware is nothing new but bashing Tor (and its anonymity) is somewhat suspicious.

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