The dark web is a sector of the internet that is hidden and anonymous and is only able to be accessed through a unique browser. It often deals in illicit operations, such as black market selling of a variety of things including patient medical records, drugs, fake passports, credit card numbers, and child pornography. It is employed by hackers, criminals, and even political activists. In an interesting event, the dark web, which is a breeding ground for new cyber threats, has been targeted by a cyber attack.
Over the weekend, a hacker associated with Anonymous attacked the dark web and took down about twenty percent of it, which is around 10,000 sites. The hacker had taken down these sites in a protest against child pornography, and the attack was aimed at a prominent infrastructure of the dark web, called Freedom Hosting II.
Freedom Hosting II claims to have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to child pornography, but content on many of their sites seemed to indicate otherwise. In a message posted to the hacked sites, the hacker states, “We are disappointed. This is an excerpt from your front page ‘We have a zero tolerance policy to child pornography.’ – but what we found while searching through your server is more than 50% child porn. Moreover, you host many scam sites, some of which are evidently run by yourself to cover hosting expenses.” Along with taking the websites down, the hacker also leaked data from them, which apparently included large amounts of child pornography, stolen personal data, and thousands of unverified US government email addresses.
Previous Dark Web Attacks
This is not the first time that Anonymous has targeted areas of the dark web. In 2011, Anonymous targeted the original Freedom Hosting service in a campaign against child pornography, titled Operation Darknet. As well as in 2014, when affiliated hackers launched Operation Deatheater, in which they targeted online pedophile rings.
Cyber Threats on the Dark Web
The dark web is known for hidden and insidious cyber threat actors that can be large risks to legal organizations as well. Threats can be developed in secret within this underlayer of the internet until it is time to launch them. A comprehensive cyber threat intelligence system is able to comb the dark net for these types of threats so that they can be defended against before they arise. Massive Alliance offers cyber threat intelligence systems, as well as several other services to prevent cyber attacks from affecting your organization.