[tor-talk] Silk Road taken down by FBI

Roger Dingledine arma at mit.edu
Thu Oct 3 22:31:12 UTC 2013

On Thu, Oct 03, 2013 at 08:12:25AM -0700, Gordon Morehouse wrote:
> Here's my one teensy thing that bothers me, this bit of speculation
> from Ars Technica:
> "The Tor Project, whose software enabled the Silk Road, noticed a
> significant spike in usage in late August and was unable to explain
> it. It remains possible that the FBI or another federal agency may
> have suddenly flooded Tor with its own bots or other computers under
> its control as a way of conducting surveillance on the Silk Road."[1]
> Can we fairly definitively say these two things are entirely
> unrelated?  Do we *know* (for pretty sure) the usage spike is a greedy
> botnet and not some kind of attack?

They're wondering about the botnet activity in late August, when all
the dates in the takedown pdf are in July?

I guess their conspiracy theory would go something like "those FBI people
lied about everything in their affidavit, and made up a smear campaign
about bad opsec to hide their actual attack"?

And at the same time, nobody who's said "I wonder if that botnet activity
is an anonymity attack of some sort" has provided any details on how
so many users might be needed to attack anonymity?

I think it's pretty clear by now that the August / September growth is
from a botnet. That plus the fact that nobody has described how "add
millions of users" is a required step for an anonymity-breaking attack,
plus the fact that the FBI would really have shot themselves in the foot
by lying so much (unless of course the pdf that everybody's reading is
a fake and a distraction -- down the rabbit hole we go!), makes me think
whoever wrote that article didn't do much of their homework.


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