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Anonymous takes aim at child porn with OpDarknet campaign

25 Oct 2011
Anonymous video screenshot

Anonymous. Force for good, or lawless bunch of over-zealous sociopaths? It's a debate that has split the information security industry and V3 readers.

Some two-thirds of our readers gave the group, and its spin-off LulzSec, the thumbs up for highlighting security failings in corporate systems and leaving the establishment with egg on its face, although many maintained that their actions are illegal and should be stopped.

The past year has certainly seen hacktivism propelled into the mainstream by the groups' various DDoS attacks, information stealing escapades and even the odd newspaper web site defacement.

But there are signs that Anonymous could be changing its focus to something more inclusive and socially beneficial than a tit-for-tat DDoS now and again.

It started with the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street protests, supported by Anonymous, which have now spread to several cities around the world including London. Then the group announced an Analytics research faction dedicated to exposing corporate wrong-doing.

Now it is turning its attention to child porn sites, if a recent posting to Pastebin is anything to go by.

The post details how the group came across a cache of child porn links on a site called the Hidden Wiki. After taking action to "make it unavailable", Anonymous then took aim at the hosting company that it said knowingly allowed such content to remain on the web.

"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," the statement read.

"At apprx 11:30pm CST on October 14, 2011 we infiltrated the shared hosting server of Freedom Hosting and shutdown services to all clients due to their lack of action to remove child pornography from their server."

The actions are part of OpDarknet, yet another front Anonymous has opened up in its ever expanding war on corruption, duplicity and evil on the web.

Now, some may argue that this kind of online vigilantism will only damage potentially innocent companies caught in the crossfire of a Wild West web shoot out.

However, there will be just as many who will support a group which can move faster and quicker than law enforcement and industry, by very virtue of the fact that it doesn't have to obey the laws of the land.

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Phil Muncaster
About

Phil Muncaster is news editor at V3.co.uk, a role he has fulfilled since January 2010. Previously he was chief reporter for IT Week, having also worked as a reporter and senior reporter on the publication from 2005.

Before IT Week, Phil worked as a researcher for the Rough Guide. Prior to his work in journalism, Phil spent three years teaching English in Japan.

 

 

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