Pedophiles beware; in their latest effort called #OpDarknet, well-known hacktivist group Anonymous is on a campaign against child pornography. The group took down servers which they claim hosted the largest collection of child porn on the internet. Over 40 websites were disabled, including Lolita City, which were operating via the anonymized Tor project.
The Tor network, birthed by the U.S. Navy, is a secure network used by many to avoid surveillance by governments and other agencies as it does not leave a trace of an IP address. The technology has been invaluable to journalists needing secure communications, dissidents overthrowing regimes and also to those pushing pirated material. Tor’s .onion top-level domain, pretty much only visible to Tor users, has also attracted seedy pedophiles and their pushers.
Anonymous’ began their campaign on October 14 according to a Pastebin press release. While wading through the .onion Hidden Wiki, the hackers noticed links to child porn, which they removed but were back up within 5 minutes. So then Anonymous took down the Hidden Wiki.
Armed with their “Chris Hanson Cannons” they identified digital fingerprints from the Hidden Wiki leading back to a server at Freedom Hosting. After issuing warnings to remove content, the group eventually shut down services to Freedom Hosting clients. After Freedom Hosting installed backups and restored service to the child porn sites, Anonymous shut them down again.
Anonymous says that by taking down these servers, 40+ websites were shut down, which counts for 100GB of eliminated content depicting children being sexually exploited. In another Pastebin release, the hacktivists said they managed to snag the user database, publishing the account details of 1,569 pedophiles
In a YouTube video detailing their manifesto, Anonymous announced: “Many of us have lingering traumatic images of the material that these pedophiles were hiding on the darknet. Anonymous took a pledge to defend the defenseless and fight for the fallen…the darknet is a vast sea of many providers. However, we fully intend to make it uninhabitable for these disgusting degenerates to exist.”
via Ars Technica
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