Hackers shutdown almost 10,000 Tor-based websites on dark web

On 5th February, visitors to more than 10K Tor-based sites were encountered with a shocking statement: “Hello, Freedom Hosting II, you have been hacked.” A team of hackers affiliating itself with a popular hacking group named “Anonymous” had hacked Freedom hosting II servers, a well-known service which is used for Tor-based websites. Almost 6 hours after the initial notice, all the websites hosted by Freedom Hosting 2 are still unreachable.

Hackers shutdown almost 10,000 Tor-based websites on dark web
Credit: Tor Project / Wikipedia

In the announcement, the hacking group offers to sell the hacked data back to service provider in exchange for $100, or just 0.1 bitcoin, although it is not clear whether the proposal is serious or not.

The group also stated the child pornography made up over half the data saved on the Freedom Hosting 2 servers. Without seeing the data it is impossible to verify the claim, but it is reliable with what we know about the last hosting firms in dark-web. The first Freedom Hosting was hacked in 2013 by law enforcement, showing in a number of child pornography actions.  At that time, the Freedom Hosting hosted almost half of the sites reachable via Tor, usually mentioned to as the dark-web.

Sarah Jamie Lewis (dark web researcher) said, Freedom Hosting II is slighter than its forerunner.  As per a report on the hosting provider found that is made up almost 20% of dark-web websites, containing a huge number of bitcoin services, hacking forums, and Ponzi schemes. Sarah has gathered a list of the 10,613 exaggerated addresses here.

Probably, the group wasn’t content with swapping 10.613 sites with the announcement. They also hacked the company’s database and revealed publicly. As per the statement of Troy Hunt, owner of Have I Been Pwned?, the compromised data contains the emails of approximately 381,000 consumers.

However, Hunt stated that a huge number of Gov. emails are included in the hack, although he said further, “how many are real and what purposes they were being used for is another issue.” Furthermore the compromised details, includes site database backups, a number of these used free, popular systems like PHPBB and WordPress. Hunt said, much of the hacked data is ‘extremely explicit’.

A hacker from the group also claimed in an interview with Motherboard, this was his initial hack ever, and he not once planned to shutdown the Freedom Hosting II. However, when he supposedly found many websites with child pornography, he made the decision to take down the hosting provider. 74GB of data and the database of 2.3 GB was downloaded, claimed by the hacker.

The dump data is in the hands of law agencies by now, according to the Troy Hunt. He added it is “very public” and included “a lot of real emails”. It looks unavoidable that in the upcoming days, some of its consumers will find themselves under the serious threat.

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