Encrypted Apps Are Used As Marketplace For Child Porn

Apps like Telegram and Discord used to serve child pornography

A BBC investigation has recently unearthed a dark side of technology. Images of child sexual abuse and stolen credit card numbers are being traded on encrypted apps.

Encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and Discord have taken over the dark web as a conducive criminal environment.

These apps have become popular after numerous successful police operations against illegal markets operating on what is known as the dark web, a network that can only be accessed by special browsers.

The report suggested that these secure apps have both public and encrypted sides. Often, these apps are publicly listed so users can search and join groups that advertise drugs, stolen financial data, and other illegal materials. Once the group is entered, the messages are then protected by peer-to-peer encryption, which makes it harder for law enforcers to reach them.

Several investigations have found evidence that pedophiles have used Telegram and Discord to share and access abusive materials. These investigations suggested that links to these Telegram groups are buried in public comment sections of YouTube videos. Researchers have confirmed that at least one of these groups contained hundreds of indecent photos of children.

YouTube has publicly denounced this activity and said that the company has a zero tolerance approach to child sexual abuse material and has invested heavily in technology, teams, and partnerships to prevent these materials from being available in their platform.

A spokesman for Telegram said the company is processing reports from users and engaged in “proactive searches” to keep the platform free of abuse, including child abuse and terrorist propaganda. He added that this process only takes an hour.

Additionally, the BBC investigation also found that pedophiles and sexual predators are using Discord app, a gaming chat network, to persuade children to send explicit images of themselves.

Research conducted by the security firm IntSights has identified a specific group in Discord in which a user had posted a price list for child abuse images.

“The user was offering gigabytes of pornography or pedophile material: nine gigabytes for $50 (£39), 50 gigabytes for $500, and 2.2 terabytes, which is a huge amount, for around $2,500,” the study reads.

“The number of these violations makes up a tiny percentage of usage on Discord, and the team is committed to improving our policies and processes to make it even smaller.” a representative from Discord said as a response to the report.

“As all conversations are opt-in, we urge users only to accept invitations from individuals they already know,” he added. /apr

About the Author

Al Restar
A consumer tech and cybersecurity journalist who does content marketing while daydreaming about having unlimited coffee for life and getting a pet llama. I also own a cybersecurity blog called Zero Day.

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