Cybercrime has been severely struck. Thanks to the extensive work of the authorities in various countries, and a leak of IP addresses, web application security experts and law enforcement agencies were able to dismantle the operations centre of the person in charge of one of the largest child pornography websites. Hundreds of people have already been charged for their involvement in this site on dark web, plus the main operator is already in jail.
Prosecutors in the US claim that the leader of this operation is a man from South Korea: “This is the largest child abuse image and video traffic operation ever detected and shut down on the Internet,” the authorities say.
According to web application security experts, Jong Woo Son, 23, ran the dark web-hosted site known as “Welcome to Video”, visited by hundreds, or even thousands, of consumers of child pornography in the US and other parts of the world. It is estimated that more than one million images and videos were downloaded from this website.
Son had already been imprisoned by the South Korean authorities in connection with this website; however, he now faces nine charges imposed by the American authorities related to the creation and distribution of child sexual images, in addition to others crimes such as money laundering.
Another 337 people have been charged with participating in issues related to this website. Hidden in Tor, the criminals in charge of the site came to protect more than 8 terabytes of illegal material. Each user of the site had to pay 0.3 Bitcoin to be able to download the content; users could even get credits by uploading new illegal material.
Authorities estimate that around one million Bitcoin online wallets were registered on the site. In collaboration with blockchain analysis specialists Chainalysis, the authorities were able to track some of the users responsible for the distribution of this repugnant material, following their activity across multiple cryptocurrency exchange platforms.
According to web application security specialists, luck was also on the side of the authorities, as a slight flaw in the server configurations of this website revealed two public IP addresses linked to the server, which led to the police direct to a system housed in the defendant’s home. The operation also made it possible to rescue 23 child victims of this criminal group in the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain.
Web application security specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) consider this to be further a sign of the ongoing work of private authorities and researchers to combat the activities of this kind of criminals who, using extensive economic, technological and organizational resources, take advantage of vulnerable children in multiple parts of the world to satisfy a group of degenerates operating internationally.