The FBI admitted to taking control of Freedom Hosting servers on the anonymity network Tor right before researchers uncovered malware specially designed to identify users.
Researchers almost immediately noted the Tor malware, which leveraged a vulnerability in Firefox, had to be run by a law enforcement agency.
That’s because the threat didn’t cause too much damage, despite the fact it had the potential. Instead, it simply collected MAC addresses and Windows hostnames, sending the data back to a server in Northern Virginia.
Back in August, Irish authorities arrested 28-year-old Eric Eoin Marques, the man believed to run Freedom Hosting, one of the largest Tor hidden services hosting providers. Marques stands accused of facilitating child abuse websites on a massive scale, and the FBI wants him extradited to the U.S. where he faces up to 100 years in prison.
Earlier this week, Marques ended up denied bail for the second time. Authorities believe he is a flight risk for several reasons.
The FBI fears once he’s set free he might try to get in contact with his accomplices, RTE News Ireland reported. In addition, investigators uncovered evidence that shows Marques was trying to obtain Russian citizenship.
“He was trying to look for a place to reside to make it most difficult to be extradited to the United States,” said FBI Special Agent Brooke Donahue.
The defendant’s lawyers argued he was willing to accept any conditions if granted bail, including curfews and undertakings not to access certain technologies.
However, the prosecution explained the man had a lot of money, much of which he has already sent to his girlfriend in Romania.
Authorities are also concerned the suspect might try to interfere with evidence. This is a concern for the FBI, especially since in July Marques managed to regain access to his servers and changed the passwords to lock out the law enforcement agency.