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[liberationtech] An Arabic Linux distro that corrects "multiple Tor bugs"

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at appelbaum.net
Thu Apr 19 07:35:41 PDT 2012


On 04/19/2012 03:36 AM, KheOps wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> 
> A Syrian activist came a few hours ago on Telecomix's OpSyria and
> pointed us to what seems to be a new Linux live distro based on Ubuntu,
> apparently designed to provide tools to increase anonymity and privacy:
> http://sourceforge.net/projects/virtuslinux/
> 
> Among others, its creators state that their distro, Virtus, "uses a
> modified version of TOR software. The modified version fixes multiple
> bugs found in the original software by Virtus developers when it was
> used in Syria."
> 
> I don't think anybody has reviewed it yet, but it seems the distro is
> already spreading a bit, which is why I felt useful to post a warning
> here, espescially towards Jacob who might be interested in having a look
> at what can be these "bug fixes".
> 
> Virtus has been designed by what looks like to be a new group called
> "Cyber Arabs" (http://www.cyber-arabs.com/). They have a Twitter account
> (@Cyber_Arabs), with which they already promoted the use of OTR, SSH
> proxies in YouTube videos and linked to several EFF articles regarding
> RAT malware used in Syria. I tend to think that their intentions are
> rather good, although their knowledge may appear - for now - a bit clumsy.
> 
> I'd be glad to get any advice/feedback on this :)

( First off, Hi KheOps, it's a pleasure to email with you - you're a
legend in the current hacking conflict in Syria - keep up the awesome
hacking! )

My first thought is - "GAAAAAAAH!" but then I remembered to drink a
coffee before writing this email. :)

What changes have been made? What "bugs" fixed? How do we know that this
isn't a crazy plot by the Syrians?

I mean, I have to say, I want to encourage people to build new stuff if
they have a clue - there is something about Syria making their own
malware that scares the heck out of me. If you were them, would you
certainly make a distro? I'd guess, yes?

All the best,
Jacob



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