Putin’s minions can’t crack Tor

Vladimir Putin - Wikimedia CommonsTsar Putin was willing to write a $59,000 cheque to anyone able to crack Tor, but now it seems that the company that took the contract is going to spend double that trying to get out of it.

The Central Research Institute of Economics, Informatics, and Control Systems—a Moscow arm of Rostec has paid $150,000 to hire a law firm tasked with negotiating a way out of the deal, according to a database of state purchase disclosures.

Lawyers from Pleshakov, Ushkalov and Partners will work with Russian officials on putting an end to the Tor research project.

Russia’s Interior Ministry posted a contract seeking a group “to study the possibility of obtaining technical information on users and users’ equipment of Tor anonymous network”. Tsar Putin was obviously concerned that his subjects could talk about him behind his back using encryption so he could not read it.

The number of Tor users in Russia has jumped about 40 percent from the beginning of the year, to more than 175,000, according to data from the Tor Project, which develops the service. Tor is partly funded by the US government, had $3.53 million in revenue in 2013, the last year it reported financials on its web.