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Massive revenge porn site Anon-IB shut down by Dutch police

A warning on Anon-IB’s website, announcing that Politie, the Dutch police, has seized the revenge porn page.

Politie

One of the internet’s most notorious revenge porn websites has been shut down after a year-long investigation by Dutch police Politie. Police in the Netherlands announced Thursday that they seized Anon-IB’s server and discovered that hundreds of women were targeted by hackers on the website. The investigation is ongoing, even after officers shut down the forum.

Officers arrested three men from the Netherlands, aged 35, 28, and 31. They are charged with computer intrusion and spreading nude photos. Police also confiscated data from two other suspects, aged 19 and 26, linked to the forum.

Revenge porn runs rampant online, as websites like Facebook and Google, as well as lawmakers, look for ways to stop its spread. Anon-IB was one of the largest websites serving as a central hub for revenge porn. The website became infamous in 2014 because of its involvement with leaking nude photos of celebrities.

Since then, AnonIB has only grown, with users flocking to the website to post revenge porn, as well as images of women taken without their permission. Some categories on AnonIB included photos of passed out women, and peeping Toms, according to Sophos, a security company. But not only were people posting photos they obtained as revenge porn, users on AnonIB were actively hacking women and posting stolen images on the website, Dutch police said.

Hackers would break in to their victims’ emails, social media accounts and cloud storage. On the forum, they would ask each other for help getting nude photos of specific people and share the stolen images with each other. “These were not properly secured and therefore relatively easy to hack,” police said. “The suspects were able to capture sexually explicit footage from a few hundred women without the victims being aware of it.”

The investigation began in March 2017 after a woman discovered that her private images were posted online and reported it to Dutch police. The report lead to the first arrest, and officers discovered the suspect’s computer had a stash of stolen photos from multiple women. Four suspects had personal data on a large number of women they targeted, officers said.

Belgian police discovered a massive cloud database on a New Zealand server, which it will share with Dutch police.

Investigators are researching the seized data and will be informing all the women who have been targeted by Anon-IB, police said.

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