Freedom Hosting

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Created in 2008, Freedom hosting at its height in August 2013 was the largest Tor specialist web hosting service.[1]

In 2011 Anonymous launched 'Operation Darknet', an anti-child pornography effort against activities on the dark web. One of the largest sites, Lolita City, hosted by Freedom Hosting, was DDOSed, and later had its member list leaked following a SQL injection attack, as was The Hidden Wiki which linked to it.[2]

In August 2013, it was discovered that the Firefox browsers in many older versions of the Tor Browser Bundle were vulnerable to a JavaScript attack, as NoScript was not enabled by default.[3] This attack was being exploited to send users' MAC and IP addresses and Windows computer names to the attackers.[4][5][6] News reports linked this to a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operation targeting Freedom Hosting's owner, Eric Eoin Marques, who was arrested on a provisional extradition warrant issued by a United States court on 29 July. The FBI is seeking to extradite Marques out of Ireland to Maryland on four charges — distributing, conspiring to distribute, and advertising child pornography — as well as aiding and abetting advertising of child pornography. The warrant alleges that Marques is "the largest facilitator of child porn on the planet".[7][8] His attorneys are fighting his extradition on the grounds that he suffers from Asperger syndrome.[9]

The FBI acknowledged the attack in a 12 September 2013 court filing in Dublin;[10] further technical details from a training presentation leaked by Edward Snowden showed that the codename for the exploit was EgotisticalGiraffe.[11]

Notable hosted sites[edit]


  1. ^ Howell O'Neill, Patrick (4 August 2013). "An in-depth guide to Freedom Hosting, the engine of the Dark Net". Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Gallagher, Sean (4 August 2013). "Alleged Tor hidden service operator busted for child porn distribution". Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "'Peeling back the layers of Tor with EgotisticalGiraffe' – read the document". Guardian. 4 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Samson, Ted (5 August 2013). "Tor Browser Bundle for Windows users susceptible to info-stealing attack". InfoWorld. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Poulsen, Kevin (8 May 2013). "Feds Are Suspects in New Malware That Attacks Tor Anonymity". Wired. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Owen, Gareth. "FBI Malware Analysis". Retrieved 6 May 2014. [self-published source?]
  7. ^ Best, Jessica (21 January 2014). "Man branded 'largest facilitator of child porn on the planet' remanded in custody again". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Dingledine, Roger (5 August 2013). "Tor security advisory: Old Tor Browser Bundles vulnerable". Tor Project. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Smith, Lewis (11 May 2015). "Irish man fighting extradition to US over child abuse image charges has Asperger's syndrome, court hears". Independent. Retrieved 27 February 2016. 
  10. ^ Poulsen, Kevin (13 September 2013). "FBI Admits It Controlled Tor Servers Behind Mass Malware Attack". Wired. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  11. ^ Schneier, Bruce (4 October 2013). "Attacking Tor: how the NSA targets users' online anonymity". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "Child abuse sites on Tor compromised by malware". 5 August 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  13. ^ Poulsen, Kevin (27 January 2014). "If You Used This Secure Webmail Site, the FBI Has Your Inbox". Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Howell O'Neill, Patrick (4 August 2013). "An in-depth guide to Freedom Hosting, the engine of the Dark Net". Retrieved 3 August 2015.