illegal images of children

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Tor’s most visited hidden sites host child abuse images

Published December 30, 2014 by misty534

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Most traffic to sites hidden on the Tor network go to those dealing in images of child sexual abuse a study suggests.

The six-month study sought to catalogue hidden services on the so-called “dark net” and work out which were the most popular.

It found lots of sites peddling illegal drugs but the most popular were those involved with abuse.

However, the researcher behind the study said it was hard to conclude that people were behind all the visits.

Drug traffic

Tor, or The Onion Router, is an anonymising system that lets people use the web without revealing who they are or which country they are in. The anonymity offered by the network has encouraged many people to set up hidden .onion sites that offer content, services and goods that it is illegal to sell openly.

Carried out by Dr Gareth Owen from the University of Portsmouth, the study set up servers to join the Tor network and catalogued hidden services found on it. The system was also able to visit the sites to download HTML content so they could be categorised and to track how many visits each one received.

Traffic to hidden services on Tor represents about 1.5% of all the data passing across the network on any given day.

Over the six months of the study, Dr Owen and his colleagues saw about 80,000 hidden sites on Tor.

“Most of the hidden services we only saw once. They do not tend to exist for a very long time,” he said during a speech at the 31st Chaos Communications Congress in Hanover, where he presented his findings.

The top 40 hidden services were involved with controlling botnets – networks of home computers compromised by malicious programs. Many of these botnets have been shut down which has left their client computers fruitlessly polling Tor seeking the now dormant command systems.

The study found that the biggest number of hidden services were dedicated to selling illegal drugs. Also in the top five were underground markets, fraud sites, mail services and those dealing in the virtual currency Bitcoin.

Hidden sites peddling illegal drugs are also popular on Tor

Although the number of sites dealing in images of abuse on Tor is small, traffic to them dwarfs that going to other sites, said Dr Owen.

About 75% of the traffic observed in the study ended up at abuse sites, said Dr Owen.

“When we found this out we were stunned,” he said. “This is not what we expected at all.”

Despite the findings, Dr Owen cautioned against drawing too many conclusions since he did not know which visits were done by people and which by machines.

“It’s not as quite as straightforward as it looks,” he said. “It might look like there are lots of people visiting these sites but it is difficult to conclude that from this information.”

“What proportion are people and which are something else? We simply don’t know.” he said, adding that “crawlers” run by law enforcement and other agencies that police abuse sites could be responsible for the steady stream of traffic.

Roger Dingledine, one of the original developers of Tor, also said the methodology of the study – which only scanned long-lived sites to see what content they offered – made it hard to draw conclusions about what people did on the network.

“Without knowing how many sites disappeared before he got around to looking at them, it’s impossible to know what percentage of fetches went to abuse sites,” he said.

“There are important uses for hidden services, such as when human rights activists use them to access Facebook or to blog anonymously,” he added.

“These uses for hidden services are new and have great potential.”

BBC News


Published October 3, 2014 by misty534




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A PAEDOPHILE who downloaded indecent images of children has avoided a prison sentence.

Brian Stretton, 65, was caught after Essex police investigated a website from where he had been downloading images.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard that one of the children in the 12 images found was aged eight years old and another 10.

Police also found 200 pictures of extreme pornography on his laptop.

Prosecuting, Tammy Mears said Stretton only admitted his guilt to police when they confronted him with evidence from his laptop and then he said that he had been looking at the pictures ‘out of curiosity’ not to get sexual kicks.

The court heard Stretton had begun to search for the images after chatting with young girls online, and Judge Roger Hetherington said police had already given warnings to the families involved.

Simon Moger, defending Stretton, told the court: ‘This defendant was motivated by a combination of curiosity, naivety and in some aspects, an underlying interest in the sexual content of these images.’

Stretton pleaded guilty to eight counts of possession of indecent images of children.

He also admitted four counts of extreme pornography featuring bestiality, which he had viewed on November 26.

Mr Moger said: ‘The picture of this defendant is a somewhat isolated and vulnerable individual which in some extent led to these offences being committed in the first place.

‘He appears to be a man who has spent a number of years avoiding problems in terms of his general health, mental health and that sort of thing.’

He said Stretton, who is previously of good character, had become lonely and depressed after his marriage broke down and that he stood to lose his home if he was sent to prison.

Judge Hetherington sentenced Stretton, from Wingfield Street, Buckland, Portsmouth to a three-year suspended prison term.

Stretton was ordered to attend a Sex Offenders’ Treatment Programmes.

He was put under supervision for three years.

Stretton was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register.

His name will remain on the register for five years.

City high-flier pleads guilty to having child porn pictures on his laptop

Published August 12, 2013 by misty534

ABERDEEN-BORN Matthew Smith must attend a sex offenders’ group programme and perform 200 hours of community service.

Matthew Smith

POLICE found child porn pictures on the laptop of a high-flying city whizzkid when they raided his flat.

Matthew Smith quit his highly-paid job advising wealthy clients on how to invest their riches after being caught with the sickening images.

Aberdeen-born Smith, 24, pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court last Friday to 13 charges of possessing indecent photographs of girls, aged between seven and 12, at his west London flat in May last year.

Some of the images were at level five – the most extreme category of child pornography.

Judge Philip Matthews sentenced St Andrews University graduate Smith to a three-year community order, which includes attending a sex offenders’ group programme. He was ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

Smith was also told to sign a sexual offenders prevention order, which requires him to make his internet history available to police.

The court heard that Smith worked for independent financial advisers Saunderson House in London. After police seized his computer, he was suspended by his employers.

He later resigned and returned to Aberdeen. Smith now works for financial planners Medical & Dental in the city.

A sexual psychotherapist with Stop It Now wrote to the court and said: “He has no sexual interest in children, his interest is towards adult women.”


the daily record

15,030 child sex abuse images on computer

Published April 5, 2013 by misty534


A MAN stored more than 15,000 images of child sex abuse on his home computer, a court has heard.

Darren Rogers, 31, spent 10 years scouring the internet for images of minors.

Rogers then meticulously logged and catalogued the images, including the abuse of a girl under the age of three, on his computer, Swindon Crown Court heard yesterday.

He was finally snared after police raided his Swindon home in Wavell Road, Pinehurst, in March 2011.

Of the images, 14,307 were classed as level one (children in sexualised poses but not sexual activity) 655 were level two, five were level three, while 63 were level four. The level four material comprised of 11 movies and 52 images, of which 21 were extreme.

One of the movies was of a girl of about 11 or 12 and lasted for 14 minutes, the court heard.

Alex Daymont, mitigating, told how his client had attended seminars to address his offending, and how he had become depressed while waiting two years for his case to conclude. He also pointed out Rogers had pleaded guilty and was in employment.

But Judge Ambrose told him: “For 10 years you had been searching the internet and downloading indecent images of children for your own sexual gratification.”

The judge said the offences were so serious that only a custodial sentence could be justified.

He said: “Each image represents a real child being abused; the animated images aside.

“You are not the direct abuser, but by searching out this material, you and others provide the interest that stimulates the abuse.”

Rogers showed no emotion as he was jailed for 10 months. He was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years and banned from working with children. His computer was also confiscated.

Rogers had pleaded guilty to possession of indecent photos (15,030), possession of extreme pornography and possession of a prohibited image of a child.

by Swinden Advertiser