It is never good to see a popular web hosting provider getting hacked. In the case of Freedom Hosting II, the company mainly hosts tor-based platforms, including a few darknet marketplaces. As it turns out, the company’s servers have been taken over by hackers who claim to be part of the Anonymous collective. According to the hackers, the Freedom Hosting II provider allows the hosting of child pornography, although that has not been confirmed so far.
Is Anonymous Behind This Hack?
That will be the first question on a lot of people’s minds right now. Freedom Hosting II has made a name for itself by mainly focusing on providing hosting services to websites and platform running on the Tor protocol. A lot of this provider’s clients have been affected by the hack, although no official numbers have been provided at this time.
All of the site affected by this “Anonymous” hack show the same message. Allegedly, over 50% of all files hosted on Freedom Hosting II servers related to child pornography. It is unclear if this is the case, even though the hosting provider vowed to shut down any site hosting such material on their servers. A total of 74 GB of data has been obtained by the hackers, as well as a user database of 2.3 GB in size.
These files are currently being distributed over the BitTorrent protocol. At first,the hackers wanted to find a buyer willing to pay 0.1 Bitcoin for this pile of data, but they later on changed their mind. This seems to hint the information retrieved may not belong to Freedom Hosting II in the first place, but it remains to be seen if that is the case.
What is rather intriguing is how Freedom Hosting II effectively hosts twenty percent of all deep web websites. Since most people only know the darknet for its illegal content and activity, this begs the question how many online marketplaces are running on these servers. If information related to these sites has been obtained, there could be severe repercussions for people who conduct malicious practices on the deep web.
Moreover, it appears a significant portion of the sites affected by this hack were politically oriented blogs and forums. Since freedom of speech is nearly impossible to achieve on the regular internet, activists and journalists gather on darknet forums to exchange sensitive information. Moreover, the Tor protocol allows these users to remain anonymous at all times, which is of the utmost importance.
It is not the first time Freedom Hosting is under attack by hackers. In 2011, there was a similar incident involved claims from Anonymous members who shut down the service through a series of DDoS attacks. The former owner of Freedom Hosting was arrested in 2013 by the Irish police. As one would expect, Freedom Hosting II is the successor of the original platform.
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