Hacker Takes Down 20 Percent Of Dark Web Hosted Sites

onion tor security privacy © Tor warns users they may have been unmasked by a long-running campaign Shutterstock

Freedom Hosting II had 10,000 Tor-based webpages rendered inaccessible

A cyberattack has taken offline around 10,000 Tor-based hidden websites running on the dark web, after 20 percent of dark web sites, after a clutch of the sites were found to contain large amounts of child pornography.

The attack was directed at Freedom Hosting II, which hosts dark web webpages, and started on Friday presenting any visitors of the affected sites with the message:  “Hello, Freedom Hosting II, you have been hacked.”

Attacking the dark web

Keyboard Illustration "Cyber Attack" © Ben Chams - FotoliaA single hacker has claimed responsibility for the attack, and told Motherboard that it was their first attack and they felt that they had “the right idea” to target Freedom Hosting II after some of the sites it was hosting reportedly contained around 30GB of files containing child pornography.

The hacker then targeted Freedom Hosting II rather than the sites themselves as they believed the administrators at the hosting organisation knew of the presence of such illegal material on their network.

“This suggests they paid for hosting and the admin knew of those sites. That’s when I decided to take it down instead,” the hacker explained.

Freedom Hosting II, according to security researcher Sarah Jamie Lewis, plays host to all manner of web content from scamming services for transferring Bitcoin to Ponzi schemes; in some ways it is not surprising the organisation became the target of a hacker with a moral compass.

The hacker has claimed to have released a dump of the system filed from Freedom Hosting II, though has not revealed the user data due to it containing illegal material, but Motherboard reported, that the hacker agreed to provide a copy of the data to a security researcher who will then hand over to the law enforcement.

This form of ethical hacking is nothing new, and even has companies like BT offering an ethical hacking services to find weaknesses in customers’ networks.

Such ethical attacks can wreak as much havoc as a major data breach, but the hackers behind such cyber assaults have different motives to other hacker collectives and cyber criminals.

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