You've probably heard of Tor, the browser designed to offer an anonymous browsing experience. Attempts to break its tough shell have been insofar unsuccesful, but the Russian government has taken it one step further. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs is offering $111,000 (equivalent to 3.9 million roubles) to whoever can find a way to de-anoymize Tor, and therefore make the Russian internet one place where the infamous browser will meet its match. The government is also calling on the retrieval of all technical details about Tor users "in order to ensure the country's defense and security," according to a translated version of the tender.
In Russia research to break Tor has been ongoing for a while, but this is the first time the government has reached out to the population for help. This is all part of the crackdown that has been inflicted on the country's internet users, with widespread surveillance and censorship readily picking up. Neither is Russia the first place where users' anonymity has been threatened - China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Libya are just a few of many countries attempting to block access to services like Tor. Nevertheless, Tor is fighting back with research ongoing to guarantee the safety of its users, some of whose lives depend on the browser's security.