The company hired by the Kremlin to gather information on and crack the anonymous browser Tor is now looking to pay more than the contract's value in legal fees to back out of the agreement, according to Bloomberg.
Last year, Russia's Interior Ministry offered a contract, then worth approximately $110,000, “to study the possibility of obtaining technical information on users and users' equipment of Tor anonymous network,” in an attempt to crack the anonymity offered by the network.
The Central Research Institute of Economics, Informatics, and Control Systems, a state-run maker of helicopters, weapons, and other military and industrial equipment, accepted the contract.
The firm was not able to hack into the browser, according to online Russian news site Meduza.
Documents obtained from a database of state-purchased disclosures revealed the company agreed to pay $150,000 in legal fees to abandon the Tor project and several other classified government contracts, according to the Bloomberg report.
Lawyers from Pleshakov, Ushkalov and Partners are negotiating with Russian officials to help the firm reach a settlement.