The Pirate Bay’s New Censorship-Dodging Browser “Not Secure”

15 Aug

from The Register

Pirate-Bay-Releases-PirateBrowser-to-Bypass-CensorshipSecurity experts have complained that The Pirate Bay failed to adhere to Tor security protocols, with one observer claiming the new browser was “unsafe”. The new browser was released on Saturday, the notorious file-sharing site’s 10th anniversary. The Pirate Bay said: “Do you know any people who can’t access TPB or other torrent sites because they are blocked? Recommend PirateBrowser to them. It’s a simple one-click browser that circumvents censorship and blockades and makes the site instantly available and accessible.” It added: “This browser is intended just to circumvent censorship — to remove limits on accessing websites your government doesn’t want you to know about.” But Twitter has erupted in criticism.

The Spy Blog, which focuses on security, privacy and surveillance issues, tweeted:

#PirateBay #ThePirateBay don’t touch #PirateBrowser ! Crippled Tor Browser Bundle: no Tor Button, no NoScript, no package Digital Signature — Spy Blog (@spyblog) August 11, 2013

Jacob Appelbaum, a security bod and a spokesman for the Tor Project, also tweeted:

Piratebrowser seems like they didn’t read the Tor Browser Design documents. It seems unsafe. — Jacob Appelbaum (@ioerror) August 11, 2013

In an FAQ about the browser, The Pirate Bay reassured torrent-seekers that there were no hidden nasties in their software. It said: “There have been no modifications to any of the packages used, no adware, Trojans, toolbars, etc. This is simply a tool to help people get around censorship.” The creators of PirateBrowser lumped the UK and other countries that have issued court orders blocking access to torrent search sites together with international badboys like Iran and North Korea, claiming that nations around the world want to “limit” their citizens’ online access. TPB described the PirateBrowser thus:

PirateBrowser is a bundle package of the Tor client (Vidalia), FireFox Portable browser (with foxyproxy addon) and some custom configs that allows you to circumvent censorship that certain countries such as Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland impose onto their citizens.

The Pirate Bay has come under attack in recent months, with founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in Sweden after being found guilty of hacking.

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