Apart from FBI, there are other organizations that have tried to identify the participants of child porn websites, so that they could get their hands on them and make them pay. In fact, recently the Australian police managed to access a website called The Love Zone.
This is where they got to 30 US IPs at least. So, instead of Americans revealing IPs overseas and prosecuting them, it is the other way around here.
The website was in the dark web and used Tor. It was based in the US, which means that the Australian police (Queensland Police Service’s Task Force Argos, to be specific) had to hack them and access their sensitive data. At some point, over 29,000 members had already subscribed to the site, which is shocking news!
In order to lure the members of the site, the police sent a video file. The members wanted to open it, of course; it was relevant to their own preferences, after all!
“When a user clicked on that hyperlink, the user was advised that the user was attempting to open a video file from an external website. If the user chose to open the file, a video file containing images of child pornography began to play, and the [foreign law enforcement agency] captured and recorded the IP address of the user accessing the file. FLA configured the video file to open an Internet connection outside of the Network software, thereby allowing FLA to capture the user’s actual IP address, as well as a session identifier to tie the IP address to the activity of a particular user account.”
The whole investigation is not the same as that of the FBI and its 135 US cases. Yet, the Aussies handed over the evidence they had collected to the FBI. In this way, justice would finally emerge. It is worth pointing out that the owner of the Love Zone, Shannon McCoole, is serving a 35-year sentence for child sexual abuse.
It remains unclear whether or not the investigation of the Australian police was just against US targets.
As for the FBI, the only comments about the operation of the Love Zone were the following: “The FBI, led by its Legal Attaches in numerous countries around the world, seeks to foster strategic partnerships with foreign law enforcement, intelligence, and security services as well as with other US government agencies by sharing knowledge, experience, capabilities and by exploring joint operational opportunities.”
Ali Qamar is a tech and security enthusiast who enjoys “deep” research to dig out modern discoveries in the security industry. Currently, he is the chief editor at Cyberogism.com, an ultimate source for tech, security and innovation. To be frank and honest, Ali started working online as a freelancer and still shares the knowledge for a living. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge with people, and always try to give only the best. Follow Ali on Twitter @AliQammar57
(Security Affairs – Australian police, Love Zone)