The US and UK digital spy services may have more leakers than previously thought, according to a report.

NSA Spy Agencies

Tor Project director under attack from spy agencies

In an interview on the BBC, Andrew Lewman, executive director of the Tor Project, recently reported to have been a target of NSA malicious spyware, said he receives tips on security breaches from NSA and GCHQ, indicating that numerous leakers may be inside the spy services.

Tor, a web browser known for its privacy protection features, has an anonymous tip line that makes it safe for conscientious objectors to report the potential malicious activities of their spy agency employers.

There are plenty of people in both organisations who can anonymously leak data to us to say – maybe you should look here, maybe you should look at this to fix this,” Lewman said. “And they have.”

Lewman says that, based on the detailed complexity of the tips, those delivering the tips have likely spent significant time on an otherwise non-commercial endeavor.

“You have to think about the type of people who would be able to do this and have the expertise and time to read Tor source code from scratch for hours, for weeks, for months, and find and elucidate these super-subtle bugs or other things that they probably don’t get to see in most commercial software,” he said.

Spy agencies: Problem to be faced by whistleblowers if caught

Whistleblowers who leak information significant repercussions if they are caught: loss of career and imprisonment in conditions typically harsher than that given common criminals. “The fact that we take a completely anonymous bug report allows them to report to us safely.”

Edward Snowden, the most recent NSA whistleblower to publicly identify himself, is currently living in asylum in Russia.  As reported in ValueWalk and other media, there is likely an additional leaker inside the NSA who provided the media operational documents.  The leakers to the Tor project are likely to be computer programmers or highly technical personal, likely different from those who have access to highly confidential operational spy assessment reports.

Among those documents Snowden leaked was operational information on NSA targets, which included the Tor software.

Tor, which receives funding from the US State Department, was originally designed by the US Naval Research laboratory. The Tor project is a team of open source developers tasked with maintaining the software, which provides users the ability to anonymously surf the web and access web sites not registered by Google and other search engines.