Whistleblowing site WikiLeaks may have been founded using documents that were hacked off the super secure Tor network.
According to Wired, the site activist siphoned more than a million documents as they travelled across the internet through Tor, also known as “The Onion Router”.
Some of the material was stolen by Chinese hackers or spies who were using the Tor network to transmit the data.
If the rumours are true then it explains how WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s managed to have received more than a million documents from 13 countries” before his site was launched.
Only a small portion of those intercepted documents were ever posted on WikiLeaks.
However the case highlights the problems of using Tor for security protection.
Tor is a sophisticated privacy tool endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other civil liberties groups as a method for whistleblowers and human rights workers to communicate with journalists, among other uses.
The concern is that WikiLeaks may have picked up sensitive information from human rights workers who did not want their data seen by outsiders.
It is also not clear if WikiLeaks continues to intercept data from the Tor network. Assange is not saying.
The first document WikiLeaks posted was a “secret decision” signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a Somali rebel leader for the Islamic Courts Union. The document, which called for hiring hit men to execute government officials.
That apparently had been siphoned from the Tor network.