The co-founder of Tor (The Onion Router), an anonymised internet that parallels the open version, is scrabbling to close a bug in its software which could reveal its users identities.
Designed to allow people to move online without being tracked or traced the system has been dubbed the ‘dark web’, used by the military, police and journalists – whilst also being a hot bed for illegal activities.
It follows claims made by two researchers, Alexander Volynkin and Michael McCord from Carnegie Mellon University's computer emergency response team, who claimed to have devised a method of outing these people.
They had been due to publicise their findings at the Black hat conference this August but this was subsequently called off by the university.
A notice posted on the event website said: "Unfortunately, Mr Volynkin will not be able to speak at the conference since the materials that he would be speaking about have not yet [been] approved by Carnegie Mellon University/Software Engineering Institute for public release.”
In light of this Tor co-founder Roger Dingledine, who has ‘informally’ been shown some of the material, said: “I think I have a handle on what they did, and how to fix it. We've been trying to find delicate ways to explain that we think we know what they did, but also it sure would have been smoother if they'd opted to tell us everything.
"Based on our current plans, we'll be putting out a fix that relays can apply that should close the particular bug they found. The bug is a nice bug, but it isn't the end of the world."