German police shut down three dark web forums on child sex abuse, arrest four suspects

German police said on Friday that investigators had succeeded in shutting down three internet forums depicting child sexual abuse on the so-called "dark web" online marketplace.

Police said the sites ("BoyVids 6.0", "Forbidden Love" and "Child Porn Market") had millions of With millions of registered users, they have become one of the world's largest platforms for sharing images of child abuse.

The dark web is a hidden platform on the internet that can only be accessed through specific software and technology and is often more difficult to track or identify users. While it can be used for more legitimate purposes, it is also often used by criminal networks for black market online transactions.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser called the arrests "an important blow to the dissemination of horrific images of sexual violence against children".

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) - Germany's serious crime police force responsible for cross-border cases - is conducting the investigation on behalf of the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor's Office and the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime.

Three websites used to distribute images and videos of child sexual abuse shut down

The three dark websites, BoyVids 6.0, Forbidden Love, and Child Porn Market, had a combined total of more than one million registered users. These sites, with a total of more than one million registered users, effectively acted as a marketplace for the exchange of illegal child pornography.

"BoyVids 6.0, which showed footage of sexual violence against males aged 0 to 17, had around 410,000 registered users at the time of closure, while Forbidden Love, which showed depictions of sexual violence against girls and young women, had nearly 850,000 registered users. registered users. These figures do not provide reliable information on the total number of users, as many users have multiple accounts at the same time to protect themselves.

The last website, Child Porn Market, was only launched in October this year and failed to attract a large audience before it was shut down. Nevertheless, police said it had delivered around 120 highly graphic videos.

Four suspects caught in Germany and Brazil

Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the ongoing investigation, the BKA said.

The arrests include a 21-year-old man from the eastern German state of Saxony, who on the internet refers to himself as "Elias Harper", after the character of the FBI recruit in the US TV series Quantico. 29 November saw the man finally get a surprise visit from the real police. Special forces raided a flat in Saxony, not far from the Czech border, and arrested the 21-year-old German. He is said to be the main administrator of "BoyVids 6.0" and "Forbidden Love", two of the world's largest online forums for the exchange of images of sexual violence against children.

Two other men, a 44-year-old man from Lower Saxony and a 45-year-old man from Schleswig-Holstein, were arrested in Germany in November and December respectively.

A fourth man has been arrested in Brazil, German police said. Investigators are now trying to identify the users of the sites.

The strikes against the sites are part of Berlin's efforts to combat the distribution of banned content depicting the sexual abuse of children. Last year, German police shut down the website Boystown, one of the largest child pornography platforms on the dark web, with around 400,000 users.

From:On DarkNet – Dark Web News and Analysis
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