Heartbleed mega-bug clean up shrinks Tor network by an eighth
Tor, the sometimes-controversial internet-traffic-anonymising service, is bleeding thanks to the Heartbleed flaw.
Roger Dingledine – one of Tor’s three original co-developers and now the project’s leader – has posted to the Tor relays mailing lists with his assessment that “we’ll lose about 12 per cent of the exit capacity and 12 per cent of the guard capacity,” if systems vulnerable to the security bug are booted out.
Some Tor nodes are still running broken versions of OpenSSL, which can be silently exploited to leak sensitive data such as cryptographic keys. Tor’s overlords, sensibly, appear to be looking at the service’s participants to check whether they are likely to Heartbleed out if attacked. As they find problems, they exclude the nodes from the anonymizing network.
“I/we should add to this list as we discover other relays that come online with vulnerable openssl versions,” Dingledine writes. He also adds that there are plenty of places for Tor’s operators to look, as to date they have only considered “… the relays with Guard and/or Exit flags, so we should add the other 1000+ at some point soon.”
Tor’s overseers are doubtless not alone in having a lot of Heartbleed-related work to do. That they have that work to do, and that Tor is degraded by the vulnerability, is more evidence of the very significant impact the problem is causing. ®