In a move that anybody can get behind, the hacker group known as Anonymous has stated that they have taken down a huge cache of child pornography as well as released 1,589 usernames of the website’s clientele. The action came as part of Operation Darknet, which targets illicit websites that are part of an unindexed and therefore unsearchable area of the Internet.
The server in question is owned by Freedom Hosting, and apparently services over 40 child pornography websites. The largest of these, alarmingly called Lolita City, was stated to contained over 100 gb of child pornography.
Interestingly, the Anonymous hack is extremely well documented. In two separate Pastebin posts, the hackers involved provide a timeline of events, as well as some of the methodologies used in tracking and taking down the servers.
According to their timeline, hackers first became aware of Lolita City while leading a related campaign against a portion of the Hidden Wiki which included links to child pornography. While working to suppress the Hidden Wiki for linking to child pornography, the group turned their attentions to the websites linked on the Wiki. Through their investigations, they discovered that many of the sites shared a similar “fingerprint” in that they were supported and hosted by a company called Freedom Hosting.
The group then issued an ultimatum to Freedom Hosting to remove the content, or be shut down through their attacks. Freedom Hosting refused, and has since been the target of the hacker’s rage.
While attacks by the hacker group have often been divisive, going after the supporters of child pornography is something that is hard to criticize. In fact, this might be the best application of the groups’ talents; an intersection of Internet knowledge and the ability to carry out electronic attacks. Of course, preventing child pornography from being moved around the Internet doesn’t stop the predators that created the materials. Hopefully, law enforcement will take up the information gleaned by the group and start making some arrests.
I pilfered this from the WordPress blog As my World Turns