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FBI Seizes Service Hosting Dark Websites

During 2013 when FBI confiscated the servers of dark websites which supported child pornography, many considered it to be a win for the righteous. Nevertheless, open documents reveal that the federal agency possibly took huge liberties when it issued warrants for TorMail a website of the grey area.

Specifically in the year 2013, FBI was equipped with hacking into the accounts of 300 TorMail users. At that time, the agency employed malware for a technique called Network Investigative Technique (NIT) for abusing certain browser flaw while disclosing the IP addresses of end-users. Consequently, a lot of entities were arrested on charges they engaged in child porn. However, as per newly exposed documents, other consequences too followed.

That was when the ACLU emphasized on opening up the case folders during September. U.S Justice Department of late took the decision for publishing redacted editions of associated papers.

Three years back FBI confiscated one service named Freedom Hosting, which harbored dark websites, of which numerous were child pornography portals as well as TorMail the e-mail client that focuses on maintaining privacy. Thereafter the agency deployed the NIT malware for recording the actual Internet Protocol address of visitors of Freedom Hosting websites. This malware was targeted on visitors of 23 different online sites. Motherboard.vice.com posted this, November 7, 2016.

FBI's Network Investigative Technique malware would probe any end-user who tried accessing a 'target account' via feeding its username and password. Apparently, NIT was employed even when TorMail users hadn't yet logged into the service. It was thought that the manner in which FBI collected data probably led to the picking of their locations within a huge dragnet which the warrant didn't cover.

A few users don't even know for sure what way FBI managed utilizing its NIT for hacking particular accounts. The deliverance of FBI's account in courts missed out vital details. It was forced towards stopping its NIT soon because TorMail users discovered the malware as well as shut it down.

It isn't still clear whether the court knew FBI had surpassed its warrant's scope alternatively if FBI agents that breached unwitting end-users were ever penalized.

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