tor project offline
Tor network exit nodes appear to be down following a possible raid by law enforcement agencies

The Tor network has been hit by attempts to incapacitate its servers in what appears to be raids from law enforcement agencies aiming to disrupt the online anonymity tool.

Thomas White, an operator of a large exit node cluster for the Tor network, reported "unusual activity" on his Tor servers. After losing control of his servers he suggested that "they may be under the control of law enforcement".

The unusual activity comes shortly after a warning from the Tor Project lead developer Roger Dingledine, known online as "arma", that he believed there would be attempts to disable the Tor network.

"The Tor Project has learned that there may be an attempt to incapacitate our network in the next few days through the seizure of specialised servers in the network called directory authorities (directory authorities help Tor clients learn the list of relays that make up the Tor network," Dingledine wrote in a blogpost.

"We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use."

White has since said that his fears of law enforcement involvement were only speculation and that there is no concrete evidence that any such agencies were involved.

"People have taken my mere suspicions way too seriously," White tweeted. "I haven't even mentioned a specific agency and the theories are already flowing."

In a subsequent mailing list post, White said that he has not ruled out law enforcement involvement but believed the likelihood to be "lower than originally anticipated". He also clarified that the Tor network is still working despite the problems.

"Tor isn't broken. Stop panicking," White said. "The strength of Tor is that no single party has the power to critically damage the network or to put users at risk.

"If I believe I come across any such vulnerability, this will be forwarded to the core developers immediately and patched."