anonymous

Anonymous Shuts Down 40 Child Porn Sites

Hacktivist group Anonymous has taken down 40 child porn sites and published details of suspect paedophiles

On by Steve McCaskill 0

Hacktivist group Anonymous has taken down over forty sites and published the details of 1,589 alleged paedophiles it claims were involved in the trading of images of child sex abuse.

The attacks were part of its “Operation DarkNet” which targeted abuse groups that swapped indecent images via the Tor network, which aids online anonymity by routing web browsing queries through a series of servers around the net, making it difficult to monitor users’ activity. A “darknet” can then be created – a network which can be seen only by Tor users.

Amateurs Compromising Police?

It was on this network where Anonymous hackers noticed that one site contained links to images of child sex abuse. Anonymous then removed the links, but once they were re-posted, moved to take the site offline and find out who was hosting them.

In a document explaining its actions and demands, Anonymous said it ordered the firm to remove the content, but when this request was refused, it broke into the firm’s network and shut down the computers hosting the offending content. Anonymous has said it will continue the attacks until all the images have been taken down.

However Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, has criticised the attacks, accusing Anonymous of compromising any police investigation. “When ‘amateurs’ attack there is always the risk that they are compromising an existing investigation, preventing the police from gathering the necessary evidence they require for a successful prosecution, or making it difficult to argue that evidence has not been corrupted by hackers.

“The Anonymous hackers may feel they have done the right thing, but they may actually have inadvertently put more children at risk through their actions,” he warned.

This is the latest in a series of attacks by Anonymous on a variety of targets. In August 2011, the collective leaked the details of San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Rail System in protest against a decision by BART to shutdown mobile phone service in parts of the city during a demonstration against police.

Anonymous is also alleged to have conducted DDOS attacks against MasterCard, PayPal and Visa after they suspended WikiLeaks’ accounts in the wake of its release of sensitive US diplomatic cables.

In 2010, the group took down the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) website as revenge for legal action against torrent sharing site The Pirate Bay and stole documents from FBI defence contractor ManTech international, in response to the arrest of several people accused of participating in Anonymous’ attacks.

Steve McCaskill
Author: Steve McCaskill
Deputy Editor
Steve McCaskill Steve McCaskill

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