Websites’ servers hacked to host child abuse images: BBC

The watch foundation of internet has made a statement that many online business networks have been hacked by different hackers and the servers of these businesses have been utilized to host images that relate to sexual abuse of child or child pornography.

The charity made a statement that the legal websites that are running pornographic material have also been hacked on many occasions and the users of such websites have been redirected towards illegal material and such material sometimes accompanied different type of malware.

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The BBC radio live 5 has been told by IWF that they have received a total of 227 reports on the same issue and these reports have been received only in the last 6 weeks’ time.

Hijacked Links

IWF which is Cambridge-based has asserted that the images that were loaded through the hacked servers show the worst form of sexual abuse. Those images included newborn babies and also included sexual abuse and violent rape of young children.

They gave the example of some furniture business that got hacked and their servers were used for the same purpose. The attackers which attacked and breached this website formulated a folder on their computer and named it as Orphan Page. They uploaded offending images which counted in hundreds and the page on which they were hosted on the retailer’s website had no link to other pages on that website.

They told that apart from this furniture business, around 2 dozen or more websites of different businesses have been breached and have been used for the same purpose. The IWF also added that administrators that were running these websites might have been unaware of the issue until they receive complaint from someone.

Sara Smith who is the technical researcher of IWF said that the incidents of websites being hacked have really increased over the span of last two years but these incidents have become more common since June which is really alarming. She also added that the reason or the aim of hackers behind these attacks is to spread different malware such as Trojan.

The IWF is specialized in removing images that relate to child sexual abuse and do not have the skills or the goal to track the hackers behind these activities.

However, it is quite obvious that a user of internet will feel shy in taking his/her computer for fixing the malware because of knowing the fact that the problem or the infection has been caused by a folder that contained images of child sexual abuse. But we are well aware that most of the people who got affected by such malware had no intention to search out such content. Sara also added that they have transferred the information to the department of police and also to the sister hotlines that operate in other regions and countries.

NSPCC, Children Charity said that people should immediately report in case they counter any such material and they also said that around 16 percent of the men have been failing in making such report.

We really recommend and encourage people for making the report because you might be having a thumbnail in your system relating to the image that you have even clicked for 1 second.

 To address the issue, a meeting of the top representatives of different internet companies was called back in June by Maria Miller who is the culture, secretary. Various aspects of the issue were discussed in this meeting. The representatives included the officials of Microsoft, Twitter and Google and it was unanimously agreed that quick and effective steps should be taken to address the issue on a wide scale so that such images do not cause any more trouble.

Increase in Reports

The issue related to showing of children sexual abuse images and videos on the website has become quite hot in the last few months and especially after convictions of Mark Bridger and Stuart Hazell for murders of April jones and Tia Sharp.

Both Bridger and Hazell are being said to have viewed and sought out the images of child abuse. The IWF made a statement that there has been a 42 percent increase in the filing of reports after the case of Hazell and Bridger and this increase has been noted in the last three months.

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.