THE UNITED STATES Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been accused of gathering data from the anonymous network known as TOR.
The FBI might be behind a security assault on the TOR network that grabs users' information.
Security researcher Vlad Tsyrklevich said that the attack is a strange one and is most likely the work of the authorities.
"[It] doesn't download a backdoor or execute any other commands, this is definitely law enforcement," he said in a tweet about the discovery.
He went a bit further in a blog post, explaining that the Firefox vulnerability is being used to send data in one direction.
"Briefly, this payload connects to 188.8.131.52:80 and sends it an HTTP request that includes the host name (via gethostname()) and the MAC address of the local host (via calling SendARP on gethostbyname()->h_addr_list). After that it cleans up the state and appears to deliberately crash," he added.
"Because this payload does not download or execute any secondary backdoor or commands it's very likely that this is being operated by an LEA and not by blackhats."
Over the weekend a blog post appeared on the TOR website that sought to distant it from a number of closed down properties or hidden websites. It is thought that the shuttered websites, which were hosted by an outfit called Freedom Hosting, were home to the worst kind of abuses.
A report at the Irish Examiner said that a chap called Eric Eoin Marques is the subject of a US extradition request. He is accused of being in charge of Freedom Hosting.
"Around midnight on August 4th we were notified by a few people that a large number of hidden service addresses have disappeared from the TOR Network," the TOR project said.
"The person, or persons, who run Freedom Hosting are in no way affiliated or connected to The TOR Project, Inc., the organization coordinating the development of the TOR software and research." µ