Feeds

Anonymous shuts down hidden child abuse hub

Tor paedos torpedoed, names outed

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Members of hacktivist collective Anonymous are claiming credit for shutting down a deep underground child abuse site and outing its membership list.

Account details of 1,589 members of Lolita City were posted as part of Anonymous’ Operation Darknet, a wider effort aimed against abuse of the Tor network by paedophiles. Lolita City, said to be hosted by Freedom Hosting, alone housed more than 100GB of child pornography, according to a statement by Anonymous.

As well as providing anonymisation, the Tor network supports a private “dark” top-level domain, .onion. Sites on the "hidden" domain were only visible to Tor users or through Tor gateways, such as tor2web.org. Although some services, such as anything that uses UDP, are blocked, .onion sites are by no means immune to hacking - as the attack by Anonymous illustrates.

Anonymous members discovered links to child abuse images in a section called Hard Candy on a .onion site called The Hidden Wiki. Anonymous removed the links, which were reposted by a site administrator. After noticing that "95 per cent of the child pornography listed on the Hidden Wiki shared a digital fingerprint with the shared hosting server at Freedom Hosting", the hacktivists issued a series of ultimatums, which were ignored.

Anonymous then began a series of denial-of-service attacks aimed at Freedom Hosting, and most particularly Lolita City. The user database of the site was extracted using a SQL injection attack, ars technica reports.

The Tor network is widely used by human rights activists and often used as a means to get around government-applied censorship controls, such as the Great Firewall of China. The service is also used to exchange pirated content or by paedophiles.

Tor activist Jacob Applebaum welcomed Anonymous' action: "Anonymous pwned a bunch of pedos; huzzah," he said via his ioerror Twitter account.

Security experts were more cautious: Sophos, for example, argues against such vigilante actions. "Their intentions may have been good, but take-downs of illegal websites and sharing networks should be done by the authorities, not internet vigilantes," writes Graham Cluley of Sophos.

"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." ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.