Australian Police’s Child Porn Investigation Leads to Hacking of 30+ U.S. TOR User Accounts

We have heard the police coming up with unconventional strategies and risky methods to capture criminals. However, what Australia’s Queensland Police Service cops have done is completely novel and unheard of. According to the news, Aussie cops not only tracked the owner of a widely followed yet hidden child porn website, which was being illegally run on the dark web, but they also trapped around 30 Americans involved in the scam.

Must Read: FBI Hacked Tor To Hunt Down Paedophiles On The Deep Web

MotherBoard reported that Aussie police have learned about a well-known child porn website called “The Love Zone,” which was run on the Dark Web. The authorities quickly identified who was the owner of the site because this person used the term Hiyas to start his messages. It was learned that the child porn site owner was a former childcare worker who was involved in “evil” and “depraved” sexual offenses and hence, was serving a term of 35 years. When officials searched for Hiyas, they got more than 450,000 results.

The police service’s Task Force took over the owner account of this particular website to observe what was being viewed or talked about by users hiding their identity through TOR. However, they could not locate their IP addresses. Therefore, the Task Force decided to run the website and make observations for at least six months’ time. A child porn video was used as bait to capture those involved.

So what happened after this video was distributed?

Well, as soon as the users clicked on the video link, the website displayed a message informing that the video file was located on an external site. When the users clicked on the Open option, the video soon started playing and while the user was busy watching child porn, the Foreign Law Enforcement Agency was busy recording the IP address of that user. A court document explains the rest:

Must Read: FBI Caught Paedophile By Infecting Tor Web Browser

“FLA configured the video file to open an Internet connection outside of the Network software, thereby allowing FLA to capture the user’s actual IP address, as well as a session identifier to tie the IP address to the activity of a particular user account.”

It is yet unclear whether the cops in Australia hacked the computers in foreign countries or accessed them after obtaining a warrant. However, what we can confirm you is that during this entire process, the FLA was successful in tracking the IP addresses of over 30 registered users and then the IDs were handed over to the FBI. This reveals a startling fact that TOR doesn’t offer foolproof privacy to users, as is a common perception.

FBI didn’t comment on the latest operation but in an official statement, the agency stated that: “The FBI, led by its Legal Attaches in numerous countries around the world, seeks to foster strategic partnerships with foreign law enforcement, intelligence, and security services, as well as with other U.S. government agencies by sharing knowledge, experience, capabilities and by exploring joint operational opportunities.”

Must Read: FBI Randomly Used Malware on TORMail Users While Busting Pedophiles

Let us inform you about the happy ending of this entire operation:- two officers from the Task Force Argo were awarded for pulling off such a widespread operation commendable and successful.

Uzair Amir

I am an Electronic Engineer, an Android Game Developer and a Tech writer. I am into music, snooker and my life motto is 'Do my best, so that I can't blame myself for anything.'