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


  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.