The director of anonymous web network Tor says his team seems to get tips from government agents meant to undermine other government attempts to penetrate the network.
“There are plenty of people in [the NSA or British intelligence agency GCHQ] who can anonymously leak data to us to say — maybe you should look here, maybe you should look at this to fix this,” Andrew Lewman told the BBC. “And they have.”
Lewman admits that he has no way confirm where the anonymous reports come from, except that the tips originate from a group of people with strong technical understanding of the Tor software:
“You have to think about the type of people who would be able to do this and have the expertise and time to read Tor source code from scratch for hours, for weeks, for months, and find and elucidate these super subtle bugs or other things that they probably don’t get to see in most commercial software,” he says.
If these leaks do come from employees within intelligence agencies, it might be an indication that there’s a bigger concern than we realize over centralized attempts to track users who want to remain anonymous on the Internet.
Leaked NSA presentations from Snowden’s cache of files reveal that the agency actively searches for and then uses bugs and loopholes in Tor to track browser traffic. Tor is a target because of its reputation for facilitating illegal activity.
News of alleged leaks follows the apparent emergence of a second Edward Snowden-type who the U.S. government believes is leaking national security secrets.
This story originally appeared on Business Insider.