Anonymous, as you may know, is a notorious group of hacktivists having footprints across the web including the Dark Web, where all sorts of illegal activities like child pornography and drug dealing are carried out secretively. It is a widely-known fact that Anonymous is a dedicated group that always targets and attacks service providers, organizations and institutions that somehow negate or violate human rights. So, when anonymous got a hint about the child porn services on the Dark Web, there was bound to be some fireworks.
Reportedly, the Anonymous-affiliated hacker group has managed to take down the Freedom Hosting II servers affecting more than 10,000 websites. It must be noted that Freedom Hosting II is regarded as one of the largest hosting services on the Dark Web with hosting rights of around 20% of all the sites on this underground platform. According to researcher Sarah J Lewis, the websites bear the domain .onion and therefore, can be accessed through Tor browser. The stolen information includes email IDs of more than 380,000 users.
After the targeted hacking, whoever visited these websites was welcomed by this message:
“Hello, Freedom Hosting II, you have been hacked.”
The Freedom Hosting II databases were stolen and the websites being hosted by the service were defaced. Hackers demanded ransom in exchange for the data although a small amount of data had already been leaked online on another website that was being hosted through the Tor network. The information was revealed by Troy Hunt, the owner of the breach notification website HaveIBeenPwned.
Anonymous also posted a message informing users that all the data has been copied and dumped online. This includes 74GB of files and a 2.3GB database. It was also noted in the message that the data dump also includes private keys. Furthermore, the dumped data includes plain text emails, usernames and hashed passwords.
The only reason behind the targeting of this hosting service was that Anonymous is strictly against facilitating or offering child pornography. The hacktivists associated with Anonymous or any other associated groups show zero tolerance when it comes to child porn.
As per the hackers, more than half of the files hosted by Freedom Hosting II servers were linked to child porn. Since child pornography is illegal, therefore, Anonymous believes that it has carried out a social service by attacking the server.
However, this is not the first time when Anonymous has done something like this. In 2015, the hacktivists shut down world’s largest x-rated animal abuse forum and also deleted several animal abuse websites from the Internet.