Darknet site specialising in child sex abuse material taken down

Details are emerging of the takedown of a Darknet site specialising in the distribution of child sexual abuse materials.

Europol announced this morning that, working with Italian law enforcement authorities, it had shut down a hidden service and searched the home of the Italian administrator of the site.

Europol said 14,000 Bitcoin wallets were seized from the administrator as part of Operation Babylon.

Operation Babylon began two years ago when the Italian Postal and Communications Police uncovered a hidden service within the Darknet that was facilitating the exchange of child sexual abuse material. It was also servicing crime by hosting sellers of illegal commodities such as weapons, passport and identity documents, counterfeit and cloned credit cards, hacking services, and close to 210 sellers of drugs. The marketplace administrator earned a percentage from all of these transactions.

Darknet trading sites which operate along the same business model as Silk Road are favoured by criminals because of the anonymity that is built into the transactions through the use of encrypted onion routing and crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin.

A regularly updated list of active markets is maintained on Reddit.

Investigators discovered thousands of images online of young victims being abused, which were being exchanged by paedophiles in many hidden online locations on the Darknet. The investigation continued with the seizure of this illegal content.

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