Anonymous Attacks Child Porn Websites and Publish User Names

Summary:Anonymous attacked pedophile websites and stated that anyone hosting, promoting, or supporting child pornography will become a target.

This past week it was reported that the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous claimed credit for taking offline over 40 websites used for sharing pedophilia - and for exposing the names and identifying information of more than 1500 alleged pedophiles that had been using the sites.

News of the Anonymous campaign to actively target anyone hosting child porn sites comes from statements associated with Anonymous on Pastebin and two Anonymous YouTube video channels. AnonNews has yet to issue a press release.

It's within Anon's character to go after targets that provoke the collective's ire. Yet in this instance the group is highlighting a moral sense of outrage and horror most people will relate to - the evil crime of child sexual abuse - while revealing an internet underworld that many will be terrified to learn about for the first time.

According to Anonymous' published timeline of events from the past few days, Anon's campaign began on October 14 when some of its members were browsing a darknet site called Hidden Wiki.

Hidden Wiki is an index containing hundreds of underground websites that can't be seen by search engines or viewed by regular internet users. Such sites can't be reached by conventional means, and contain a variety of content ranging from innocuous to illegal.

An Anonymous Pastebin statement explains that their new campaign manifested upon finding a Hidden Wiki listing called "Hard Candy" that they say "was dedicated to links to child pornography."

Anonymous claims that most of the pedophile-content sites listed on the Hidden Wiki, "shared a digital fingerprint with the shared hosting server at Freedom Hosting."

The AnonMessage and BecomeAnonymous YouTube channels both posted videos with statements of intent to hunt, skin and kill pedobears everywhere, starting with Freedom Hosting.

In addition to both YouTube videos, Anonymous published statements with an events timeline and declarations of intent. According to this statement on Pastebin:

The owners and operators at Freedom Hosting are openly supporting child pornography and enabling pedophiles to view innocent children, fueling their issues and putting children at risk of abduction, molestation, rape and death.

For this, Freedom Hosting has been declared #OpDarknet Enemy Number One. By taking down Freedom Hosting, we are eliminating 40+ child pornography websites, among these is Lolita City, one of the largest child pornography websites to date containing more than 100 GB of child pornography.

We will continue to not only crash Freedom Hosting's server, but any other server we find to contain, promote, or support child pornography.

Anonymous extended the threats beyond the cluster of Hidden Wiki's index:

Remove all child pornography content from your servers. Refuse to provide hosting services to any website dealing with child pornography.

This statement is not just aimed at Freedom Hosting, but everyone on the Internet. It does not matter who you are, if we find you to be hosting, promoting, or supporting child pornography, you will become a target.

Late on Tuesday, October 14, Anonymous told Freedom Hosting to remove all the pedo links from its server.

Freedom Hosting ignored the demand and Anonymous responded by attacking and taking the server offline. It was back up the following day, but Anonymous had it down again by the evening of the 15th.

Commenters on various forums, including Reddit, have remarked that Anonymous' attacks on Freedom Hosting's sever are particularly sophisticated in comparison to previous Anonymous campaigns.

After smacking Freedom Hosting around, Anonymous then singled out another Hidden Wiki listing, a file-swapping site used by pedophiles called "Lolita City" from which 1,589 names were extracted and published on Pastebin.

Powerful vigilantes going after pedophiles - as appealing as it might sound to scorch the earth where sickness lies, serious questions are being raised about certain aspects of this campaign and concerns may emerge about possible interference with law enforcement activity that might already be in place.

Examiner ran this statement pulled from the Anonymous "Lolita City" documents,

If the FBI, Interpol, or other law enforcement agency should happen to come across this list, please use it to investigate and bring justice to the people listed here.

I think that saving the victims of these heinous crimes needs to be a priority in all this, as well as making sure innocent people don't get wrongly accused.

Meanwhile, as the public at large begins to learn about the deep web, underground darknet sites and Tor from campaigns like #OpDarknet, it's going to be a challenge to keep politicians and pundits from tarring internet anonymity tools with the brush of child porn and criminal activity.

Image by lio leiser aka hans hass under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license, via Flickr.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Government : US, Security

About

Ms. Violet Blue (tinynibbles.com, @violetblue) is a freelance investigative reporter on hacking and cybercrime at Zero Day/ZDNet, CNET and CBS News, as well as a noted sex columnist. She has made regular appearances on CNN and The Oprah Winfrey Show and is regularly interviewed, quoted, and featured in a variety of publications that inclu... Full Bio

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