Tag Archives: Cybercrime

Microsoft releases free, cloud-based anti-child pornography tool

PhotoDNA

One of the most insidious, vile crimes that could be committed is one against a child. Unfortunately, the Internet serves as a breeding ground for those who would do harm to them, and what’s described in the title is about as sick as it be.

With the millions of pictures uploaded to sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and all the others, how can those services and others ensure that nothing of the sort is posted to their servers? How do they maintain their reputation and their quality while still allowing freedom and flexibility in what people upload without violating laws or human decency?

Even TOR users aren’t safe now

Not that they should be. You see, there is a dark underbelly of the Web appropriately known as the Darknet. This is the place where people often carry out very illegal activities such as sell and buy drugs, find child pornography, suborn terrorism, traffic in weapons or even endangered species.

How does it happen? Through a project known as TOR, or The Onion Router, so named because it surrounds your browsing experience with many layers, like an onion. Essentially, when you use a TOR-compatible client you are routed through an even more labyrinthine series of points than you are when doing regular browsing. This makes it very, very difficult for anyone to track who you really are or what you are really doing.

Because TOR is so well-known for the bad things that happen, it has also been the target of white-hats who want to shut down those activities. It’s happened again and again and again., it’s a never ending battle.

black-hat-seo-or-white-hat-seoNow, a new attack has happened, however in this case it’s to strip away those protective layers and expose those who are using the network. The attackers are believed to be two researchers from Carnegie-Mellon University who claimed to have found vulnerabilities in the network, and are to give a talk at the Black-Hat Conference that will be taking place right here in Las Vegas this weekend! Those same researchers also discovered flaws in a similar anonymizing service known as the Invisible Internet Project.

A lot of bad things happen on the Darknet, but it is also important to keep in mind it is also an invaluable tool for those who might have their privileges of communication stifled in any way, such as those living in oppressive (or not-so-oppressive) and restrictive regimes where access to the Internet is strictly controlled or prohibited to hinder dissent. In that sense it’s a valuable tool, but anything used for good can also be used for bad.

(Header image from cyberwarzone.com)

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