Hacking group Anonymous claim to behind the take-down of a child pornography website.
Lolita City could be accessed via the Tor network that allows web users conceal their identity when surfing the web. Anonymous said it discovered the site through Hidden Wiki, which can also be accessed via the Tor network, and initially contacted the firm thought to be hosting Lolita City and asked for the offending images to be removed. However, when the firm refused, Anonymous accessed the site's servers and obtained the login details of more than 1,500 users, which they then published online.
The hacking group, which has previously been behind high-profile attacks on Sony, News International and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) said the website enabled "paedophiles to view innocent children, fuelling their issues and putting children at risk of abduction, molestation, rape, and death".
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"We are eliminating 40+ child pornography websites, among these is Lolita City, one of the largest child pornography websites to date containing more than 100GB of child pornography."
Furthermore, Anonymous claims Lolita City is one of 40 websites featuring child abuse material that it has targeted as party of its Operation DarkNet or OpDarkNet as it's also known.
"It does not matter who you are, if we find you to be hosting, promoting, or supporting child pornography, you will become a target," the hacking group added.
However, Graham Cluley from security firm Sophos believes that while Anonymous had good intentions, "take-downs of illegal websites and sharing networks should be done by the authorities, not internet vigilantes".
"When 'amateurs' attack there is always the risk that they are compromising an existing investigation, preventing the police from gathering the necessary evidence they require for a successful prosecution, or making it difficult to argue that evidence has not been corrupted by hackers," he said.
"The anonymous hackers may feel they have done the right thing, but they may actually have inadvertently put more children at risk through their actions."
Cluley advised web users that discover evidence of child abuse online to report it to the appropriate authorities and "not take the law into their own hands".