A Pedophile Hunter Tells Mommyish How He Takes Down Child Pornography Rings

imageThere are thousands of incidents of child pornography and online predators on the Internet. We don’t usually hear about the websites being taken down and the arrests made unless the reports make the mainstream media, and we all sit collectively horrified as we watch the nightly news. As a parent, the victimization of children infuriates me, and to me there is nothing worse than children being sexually exploited. The idea that people abuse children in this way makes me furious. And I’m not the only one.

One of the reasons I started closely following the actions of Anonymous is because one of their main objectives at any given moment is putting a stop to child porn and the exploitation of children on the Internet. In October of 2011, they put Operation Darknet into action and took down an insidious website called “Lolita City”, where users could exchange child pornography.

Anonymous members and sects continue to hunt child predators on the Internet, and I spoke with one member who has made putting an end to child pornography his life’s work.

How did you learn to find predators on the internet? You work through various social media websites, online games, and regular websites? 

Basically, we are all over the Internet. Websites, online games, chat rooms, social media such as Twitter. I am self taught, however I am constantly learning new things everyday thanks to the amazing people I am surrounded by and interact with online. I will not mention them but they know who they are. One person in particular started this operation and then handed it me. He was a great role model and a inspiration.  In my spare time I come online and hunt pedophiles and predators with a group of amazing people. I started hunting predators because I personally believed enough was not being done to protect children online by law enforcement  I still believe it. Government and law enforcement are to concerned with arresting whistle-blowers and hacktavists and seem to let everyone else off lightly.

(*Editor’s note: The amount of time varies by case, but a general estimation of the amount of prison time sentenced to computer hackers is 50 years. For someone who distributes child pornography the sentence is 20 years.)

Can you name any websites that parents need to be super cautious of their children visiting? 

A popular website a lot of parents may be familiar with is Habbo Hotel, that you can also play on Facebook. It’s basically a haven for pedophiles. In the past we have experienced many pedophiles on here. Although no pictures or videos can be swapped they like to exchange email address’s which opens up a lot more possibilities for them. That’s how the predators target children. As with most sites that cannot display pictures, they aim of predators is to exchange email address’s. That way they can exchange pictures and potentially groom unsuspecting victims. This site is no different from any other role playing game. It was simply the amount of people engaging in this sort of activity on the site that drew our attention to it. In my opinion, sites do try and protect people’s information. As always there is always more that can be done though. Unfortunately as more security measures are introduced more loopholes are also. The most common method sites use is filtering and blocking email addresses. This is very basic and simple to get around as all predators know.  Because of this I personally do not think it a deterrent to predators.

How do you take down websites?  

With a variety of methods. There is the legal way, which involves collecting evidence and reporting it to the host and correct authorities. Then there is the means by which we are more commonly associated. The method commonly used is to DDoS (Distributed denial of service) a site. A good analogy of this is to think of a call center. Say it has 50 phones. What happens is 50 requests (phone calls) are made to each phone, making it unavailable to actual customers or people that want to get through. It is just flooding the site so others cannot access it. Also, if the site has a vulnerability you might see something else happening to it, such as a database leak, or a common deface, which looks like this:

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    • msenesac

      I’m not sure how I feel about vigilante groups hacking people’s data. I understand that someone needs to do it but is still makes me uncomfortable.

      • Kitiem3000

        They do not pick those people off randomly, they get them from paedophile sharing sites. That gives them a blank check as far as I’m concerned.

        The police is often incapable of handling on-line crime. Their is simply too much of it, and they are not really set up for policing the entire internet. How could they be? This is a criminal area where vigilantes are really needed.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1165875627 Jennifer Ives O’Meara

        They can only access what you have made available so if your overly concerned don’t shop, bank, or let business store your personal data on line. Otherwise, who cares? If you have nothing to hide this shouldn’t even be an issue. Besides, as a general rule of thumb, you should never assume privacy is automatic when on line.I for one applaud this group and all that they do. The justice system is a joke when it comes to crime on children, and it makes me sick to my stomach that nobody is doing more.

      • msenesac

        I respectively disagree with you both. We are allowing a group of people to do illegal things (hack) to find another group of people. Who is to say that this group of people isn’t doing anything illegal with the data that they gather? No one is policing them. I’m not going to blanket trust them.

      • A

        While I am not big in the whole the ends justify the means thing, in this case, I am all for it. I wouldn’t trust the govt to do this (and they do–they violate your privacy six ways from Sunday and you do not even know it), I trust these people to do this. And if it means that there is a chance my privacy could be infringed..well I have nothing to hide. I don’t troll the internet looking for child porn, so I think they don’t really care about me.

        And the reason they have to resort to this, is because thanks to the “respecting rights” thing the government has to abide to, they don’t do diddly shit about things like this.

      • msenesac

        I agree that I wouldn’t trust the government with this but who is to say that there isn’t some jerk in this group collecting information to sell or exploiting the information as well? I don’t have browsing to hide but I do have my ssn (entered on forms like FAFSA), credit card numbers, passwords, etc that I do want to protect.

      • StephKay

        Anonymous is actually very effective at self governing by the very nature of it’s make up. This is not a set group, anyone can be anonymous. Projects are sort of crowd sourced, and since the vast majority of anonymous are there for noble reasons the good ops take off and the bad ones fizzle. I guarantee you if these hackers used that information for extremely immoral actions they would risk becoming targets themselves. Besides, if you want to be a criminal hacker you have no reason to work under the anonymous umbrella. It’s not like anonymous has a training program, these guys are already hackers. If anything I’d trust someone working on an anonymous operation more than just about anyone else online. At least they are upfront about the fact that they do DOX, they will target injustice, they will continue to gather info. Hackers not affiliated with a cause aren’t exactly going to shake your hand and tell you they’re about to swipe your personal info ahead of time. Plus we aren’t “allowing” them to do anything, they’re still extremely controversial and risk jail time. As far as crime goes, I’ll sleep pretty well at night knowing this kind of “crime” is out there. But admittedly, I tend to see a whole lot of grey in pretty much any non-violent crime, so I’m willing to admit I might be missing something here.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      Oh crap, I used to hang out on Habbo Hotel all the time as a kid! Ewww. Fortunately never shared any identifying information. My friend works as a mod for another major children’s site, and she says it’s really astonishing how many obvious adults/outright perverts they have to kick out each day. Parents, it is an absolute priority that you teach your kids about Internet safety.

    • HaydenT

      Thank you for sharing this with us and for the work that you do. I don’t know that I could see what you see everyday. This is for you: http://thenicestplaceontheinter.net/

    • Maggie

      You know, people have differing opinions on Anonymous and the work that they do, and yes there is a lot of “grey” area with the morals surrounding their methods, but this article and interview have solidified my respect for Anonymous. The fact that these people are dedicating their lives to rid the internet of predators and child porn, with little to no thanks and probably a lot of abuse, is incredibly brave and important. Thank you for all that you do, Anonymous, and please keep up the good work. I think the world needs you.

    • Jal

      Perverted Justice is also a really awesome website that tracks down guys who prey on kids on the internet. perverted-justice.com I believe. They work with the police and the feds and have closed hundreds of cases.

      • Dee Klien

        Yes it is I have followed them for years I pretended to be a 13 yr old on aol send info to them to follow up on there are a lot of sick people out there

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