FBI was controlling servers located in France

By EDRi · September 25, 2013

The FBI admitted on 12 September 2013 that, in late July, it had secretly taken control of some servers located in France in order to plant a malware within a police action.

The agency has introduced the spyware on web pages hosted by Freedom Hosting, meant for Tor anonymization network. The hoster had been exposed since 2011 by activists from the Anonymous movement for hosting child pornography content accessible with Tor.

Eric Eoin Marques, Freedom Hosting’s operator, who had rented the servers from an unnamed commercial hosting provider in France, paying them from a bank account in Las Vegas, is actually fighting extradition to the US in Dublin on charges that Freedom Hosting has facilitated child pornography on a massive scale.

On 4 August 2013, all the sites hosted by Freedom Hosting (even those that had no connection to child pornography) started displaying a “Down for Maintenance” message with hidden code embedded in the page. According to researchers, the code exploited a security hole in Firefox to identify users of the Tor Browser Bundle. Mozilla confirmed the code exploited a critical memory management vulnerability in Firefox that had been publicly reported on 25 June 2013, and which had been corrected for the latest version of the browser.

It is not yet clear whether the French authorities have been advised about the FBI operation and the French Minister of Interior did not
offer any clear answer.

FBI Admits It Controlled Tor Servers Behind Mass Malware Attack (13.09.2013)

The FBI has hacked servers located in France to distribute a spyware (only in French, 16.09.2013)

The FBI hacks sites located in France : “no comment” from the State (only in French, 19.09.2013)