Child abuse site taken down, organized child exploitation crime suspected – exclusive

The website was taken down following a Cybernews request to German law enforcement. Unfortunately, this is just a drop in the ocean, given the scope of the child exploitation problem worldwide.

A hacker collective, who wanted to remain anonymous, has been relentlessly hunting online crooks who benefit from videos of children being abused. This week, they discovered a website dedicated to pedophiles – it was full of explicit video material featuring minors.

The website that we aren’t naming for obvious reasons was hosted in Germany, so the collective immediately contacted law enforcement in Germany and other law enforcement agencies through various sources asking them to take the website down as soon as possible.

As per our source, the website had four different tiers for subscribers, and the paid subscription would allow perverts to download terabytes of explicit content featuring children.

The access to content, a.k.a. “Subscriptions” were being sold on a “customer support” Telegram channel.

Following a tip off by the source, Cybernews also contacted German law enforcement, namely, the BKA, Germany’s internal security organization, with a request to take down the site as soon as possible. Even though we haven’t received any reply yet, the website has been taken down. The Telegram account that was selling access to the website, unfortunately, remains active.

While this is definitely a small victory, the website is most likely just one of numerous resources that pedophiles can use. Our sources – cyber vigilantes that hunt down child abuse rings – suspect that this particular website was likely run by a criminal ring, and was just one of the many sources of income for them.

“Human trafficking and exploitation material is a huge market on darknet. There are numerous similar sites, and this is a fight that’ll never end,” they told us.

While law enforcement is trying to fight online predators, civilians’ hands seem to be tied. That’s one of the reasons why our source decided to remain anonymous – engaging in online sting operations is considered to be illegal.

Despite this, numerous hacktivists voluntarily engage in underground operations to stop crime against children. According to one of the volunteers, “There are approximately 750,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Around 234,000 sex offenders are currently behind bars. There are around 35,000 FBI agents, and we are outlawed from doing online sting operations to help stop and catch child sex predators.”

Recently, the UK passed the Online Safety Bill. While controversial, it aims to protect children online where predators start grooming them, which, unfortunately, can end in abduction. Cybernews has a dedicated podcast where we discuss whether such initiatives actually work to protect children or mostly encroach on our rights and freedoms.