This Hacker Discovered That The Police Ran A Portal Of Child Pornography In The Darknet, We have already spoken on many occasions about the darknet, a part of the Internet that most users do not access and where we can find all kinds of things. As we can imagine, many people turn to this place to carry out activities that are illegal or quiionable.
We have already spoken on many occasions about the darknet, a part of the Internet that most users do not access and where we can find all kinds of things. As we can imagine, many people turn to this place to carry out activities that are illegal or quite questionable.
In addition to buying drugs or getting passwords from other people, in the darknet pornography runs like wildfire. Einar Otto Stangvik is a young Norwegian hacker who has been working on a very complicated task for years: ending child pornography and unmasking the users who consume it.
Einar’s record is really impressive, and over the last few years he has participated in important operations that managed to uncover some organizations that shared and downloaded child pornography in the darkweb.
A STORY THAT COULD APPEAR IN ‘MR. ROBOT’
Einar can remind us of Elliot Alderson (protagonist of Mr Robot), since he works as security expert for different companies in his country and at the same time uses his free time to fight against a cause he believes in.
In 2015, it developed a program that helped put 95,000 people on the map who had downloaded photographs and videos showing children suffering from some type of abuse.
His story does not end there, and last October he uncovered one of the most important portals of the darkweb : ‘Childs Play’, in which images of child abuse were shared. It took months of work and a lot of patience.
For eleven months, Einar and his colleagues were monitoring the information on this website, identifying authors, victims and users . However, they were not prepared for what they were really about to discover, as they realized that Childs Play was being run by a special force of the Australian police.
Thanks to his work, a couple of weeks ago he managed to knock down this harmful forum . In a recent conversation with Motherboard, this Norwegian hacker has revealed how he manages to hunt pedophiles in the darknet, a task that sometimes presents certain contradictions.
PORNOGRAPHY PORTALS RUN BY THE POLICE
Einar says they spent a whole month developing a strategy to attack this platform: ” we did not just want to discover the people who were behind ‘Childs Play’ , we also wanted to uncover the users, producers of the videos and the people who abuse children’s”.
He says he tried to download all the text of the forum to classify it, but that took him to a kind of dead end. At the end of 2016 he had to put his research on hold, since they were not finding an effective way to attack this portal.
The right spark came last January. Einar tells that he came to the office and reviewed the Childs Play code found that the function of uploading the profile picture was not protected in Tor . He was surprised to find such a basic error, “opening a door for all kinds of attacks”.
At first he was skeptical , since it seemed the “dumbest” method of forcing a server to reveal its IP address. He tried, and the surprise came when he received an IP.
At the time that this weak point was found, he did not imagine that the Australian police were behind this site : “when I discovered it, I was a little surprised, but not too much”. It declares that “errors of this kind happen all the time”.
Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is to think ” is it lawful for the police to create a portal to share child pornography? ” The Australian authorities justified themselves by claiming that they had not created it, since they then infiltrated it to dominate it and finish it down.
To achieve this, they first arrested the creators of this site : Benjamin Faulkner (Warhead) and Patrick Falte (Crazymonk) and then used their credentials to access the site. To avoid raising suspicion, they also had to share child pornography in Childs Play.
Einar admits that it was difficult for him to accept that the police were behind this platform : “especially when I realized that they had shared material to avoid suspicion”. At the same time it recognizes that, “from a technical point of view”, there are not too many alternative methods to investigate things of this type.
NOT ONLY IS THERE CHILD PORNOGRAPHY IN THE DARKNET
Anyway, Einar says that child pornography is everywhere: ” in groups of Facebook, Pastebin, Reddit or Twitter .” His previous research served to reveal that there is a gigantic offer of this type of material outside the darknet, on the Internet that we all know.
“It’s a Google search away.”
In fact, he was surprised that most consumers of child pornography access this type of content through search engines. One might get to wonder why then many people turn to the darkweb to distribute and download this material.
Einar believes that in this type of portals of the darknet can be accessed much more content , and all within the same place: “is more structured and easier to search.”
As we can see, searching and catching pedophiles on the Internet is a complex and full of contradictions. The Australian police received a lot of criticism when this scandal was uncovered, but Einar concludes saying that “it is normal that the police do not want to show their cards”.