If you have been following up on the Snowden leaks since last summer you might have probably lost all hope of online security by now. After the revelations were made it was claimed that the Tor network saw its usage increase by almost 50 percent. Tor lets users securely browse the internet. It scrambles data and beams it through countless relays to mask the identity of the original sender. While the network itself hasn’t been compromised yet, Microsoft MVP (most valued professional) in enterprise security Andy Malone says if they want you, “they will get you.”
There’s nothing wrong with the Tor network itself. However cyber criminals and state sponsored hackers can monitor activity by gaining access through browser add-ons like Flash and Java. Both are known to be insecure so its not a question about attacking the network itself but attacking weak areas around it.
Malone claims that both NSA and GCHQ, the agency’s counterpart in the UK, are monitoring “hundreds of Tor relays” and are constantly trying to find way to break down the secure network. The network allows for the creation of “invisible websites” with the .onion extension that can’t be accessed using conventional browsers. He claims the agencies have set up “honey pots” in many unindexed sites simply to monitor and collect information about people visiting them.
Tor has adapted to attempted break-ins in the past but it may have a hard time warding off two state sponsored agencies on a mission to break it down. Since Tor leaks are likely to happen through third-party applications and add-ons, the smart thing to do for users would be to not use them at all.