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Tuesday, 11 September 2018 09:09

Exploit vendor Zerodium releases zero-day for old version of Tor

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Exploit vendor Zerodium releases zero-day for old version of Tor Sam Varghese

Exploit vendor Zerodium, which made headlines in September last year by offering a million-dollar bounty for any zero-day exploits in the Tor browser running on Tails Linux or Windows, has itself released a zero-day exploit for the browser.

The zero-day it released on Monday affects version 7.x of the browser which is claimed to provide secure browsing.

The US$1 million was on offer until 30 November last year, with the rider that any researcher who had already been paid that sum for other exploits would not be eligible.

Zerodium, which is based in Washington DC, mostly sells exploits to US Government agencies. It did not offer any explanation as to why it released the exploit publicly when it trades in such exploits itself.

"Advisory: Tor Browser 7.x has a serious vuln/bugdoor leading to full bypass of Tor / NoScript 'Safest' security level (supposed to block all JS)," the company tweeted.

"PoC: Set the Content-Type of your html/js page to "text/html;/json" and enjoy full JS pwnage. Newly released Tor 8.x is not affected."

One reason for releasing details of the flaw could be that most users would have moved to the newer version of Tor. The browser always reminds users to update (see screenshot above) if there is a newer version ready for download.

One individual who responded to the tweet, David Ciani, said that the flaw resided in the NoScript add-on not Firefox itself. Tor is based on the Firefox codebase.

But additional exploits may not be needed to gain access to Tor, given that it was revealed earlier this year that the project is being funded by the US Government agency BBG and co-operates with American intelligence agencies.

That claim was made by journalist Yasha Levine who obtained 2500 pages of information through FoI requests for a book he was writing titled Surveillance Valley.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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