Hactivist group Anonymous has reportedly set aside its political campaign for the moment and taken a moral approach in its latest attack. Instead of hacking banks, corporations and government facilities, the group has gone after websites serving up child porn.
The group is currently taking credit for knocking around 40 websites offline and posting the names and data of more than 1,500 alleged pedophiles using those sites. Now the group is threatening to go after the actual hosts, claiming that they are supporting child abuse.
"Our demands are simple," Anonymous said just over a week ago via Pastebin. "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."
Anonymous said its campaign began while browsing a darknet site called Hidden Wiki, an index containing hundreds of underground websites that can’t be seen by search engines or viewed by regular internet users. Anonymous found a section called "Hard Candy" which was dedicated to links to child pornography. The group forced-removed the links from Hidden Wiki, but within five minutes they were replaced by the site's administrator. Because of this, Anonymous said it will continue to make Hard Candy unavailable.
"At approximately 8:45 CST we noticed 95-percent of the child pornography listed on the Hidden Wiki shared a digital fingerprint with the shared hosting server at Freedom Hosting," the group states. "At approximately 9:00pm CST on October 14, 2011, we identified Freedom Hosting as the host of the largest collection of child pornography on the internet. We then issued a warning to remove the illegal content from their server, which they refused to do."
Taking matters into its own hands, Anonymous infiltrated Freedom Hosting's shared hosting server and shut down services to all clients. Freedom Hosting installed its backups and restored services. Anonymous offered a few warnings again and then repeated its take-down when they went unheeded. Now Freedom Hosting is considered as "#OpDarknet Enemy Number One."
"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," Anonymous said. "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," the group added.
1,589 names were extracted from Lolita City and published on Pastebin.