The Russian Interior Ministry is offering a reward of 3.9m rubles, or £65,000, to any security expert who can crack the anonymous online network, The Onion Router (TOR).
The competition tasks candidates to decrypt seized TOR data, and an official government procurement website has been advertising the competition for a period of two weeks. The issue exploded publicly on Thursday, however, after it was decried by various human rights activists.
The offer is only applicable to organizations that do covert assignments for the Russian government. The winner will be revealed on August 20.
By encrypting and sending data through a multitude of randomly chosen servers, TOR renders its online users anonymous, allowing them to browse without the fear of being traced. In addition, the TOR network allows users to access the sector of the Internet not privy to search engines.
While TOR has proven helpful to activists and journalists, there have also been cases of TOR being utilized for illegal endeavors. This places whoever uses it at a great security risk.
According to the founder of the Cyber Crime Security Forum and Microsoft’s most valued professional in enterprise security, Andy Malone, TOR network’s use of third-party add-ons makes its users vulnerable to tracking, spying, and data theft.
Following the revelations of NSA surveillance, the number of TOR users have increased from 80,000 in May to almost 200,000 this month.
via [The Inquirer]