A hacktivist breached the largest host of Dark web-sites, Freedom Hosting II on February 03 and took down around 10,613 .onion websites, nearly a fifth of the Dark Web for hosting child pornography.
The white-hat hacker stole 75 GB worth of files and 2.6 GB of databases, which they offered to return for 0.1 bitcoin, around $100.
Freedom Hosting II is accessible only through Tor Network and protects the user’s identity by not watching their Internet activities. The dark web was hosting an estimated 15% to 20% of all websites.
Visitors to websites running on Freedom Hosting II on February 3 saw a message explaining the hack.
“We have zero tolerance policy to child pornography,” said a hacker statement left on websites. “We do not forgive. We do not forget. You should have expected us,” added the statement.
Vigilantism is alive and well on the internet.
A few days ago, a hacker went onto the underground “dark web” and took down at least 2,000 sites hosting scam offers, political commentary and forums for child pornography.
Since most of the Dark Web is not accessible by search engines and is favored by a gamut of users ranging from libertarians and political dissidents to gunrunners, drug markets, pedophiles and sex traffickers who use Tor or set up anonymous .onion websites to hide their location and to ply their illegal trade, it becomes difficult for law enforcement to unmask the criminals seeking refuge in the shadows.
Security researcher Chris Monteiro claimed the Freedom Hosting II hack may have disrupted a substantial number of botnets, which are increasingly used by cybercriminals to launch large-scale DDoS attacks.
“I came across several child porn sites. That’s why I decided to search for an exploit and hack them,” the hacker told Newsweek. “I didn’t plan this attack, just had the right idea and took the opportunity after finding out what they were hosting,” added the hacktivist.
The European hacker, who wishes to remain anonymous, said it is the first time he has hacked anything but would do it again if there was an opportunity to target an illegal service.
Anonymous hacktivist has a carried out several campaigns against online child pornography, including Operation DarkNet in 2011 that saw 40 child porn sites hit with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.