by C. Edward Kelso
February 2, 2018
A photograph posted on imageboard 4chan appears to show a leaked 21 August 2017 memorandum from the US Army Cyber Protection Brigade. The document alludes to the US Army teaming with the National Security Administration (NSA) in ongoing successful investigations against “Tor, I2P, and VPN,” with a request for additional funding for further projects against cryptocurrencies.
Leaked Document Appears to Show Privacy Solutions Compromised
“The success we have had with Tor, I2P, and VPN,” begins a reportedly leaked picture of a memorandum on imageboard 4chan, complete with Department of Defense letterhead, appearing to be from the United States Army’s Cyber Protection Brigade “cannot be replicated with those currencies that do not rely on nodes. There is a growing trend in the employment of Stealth address and ring signatures that will require additional R&D.”
It has been long assumed government military and law enforcement infiltrated and compromised aspects of The Onion Router (Tor), Invisible Internet Project (I2P), Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and other ways of masking online activity, but confirmations were hard to come by.
The picture in question appears to be legitimate, though a large dose of skepticism is always warranted in cases such as these. It isn’t always clear, either, why someone should wish this information be leaked. Nevertheless, the posted photograph shows an official looking document brought up on a terminal monitor, and just to the right is a Common Access Card or CAC, complete with picture, typical of a Department of Defense employee. In leaks, often easter eggs are left as a tell or clue. That’s not exactly apparent here, and it really could just be an instance of sloppiness.
Another reasonable theory has to do with playing on the notorious fears of the crypto community, which at times can be easily sent into whips of cloak and dagger hysteria. A great way to limit usage of privacy solutions is to send out into the ecosystem rumors of their being anything but, a kind of Machiavellian version of spreading fear, uncertainty, doubt.