Bitcoin trail led to nabbing of giant child porn site

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

Authorities in the U.S. and South Korea apprehended and closed down what they refer to as one of the biggest markets of child porn by following the trail of Bitcoin transactions. The law enforcement agencies from the two countries said that the man working in his bedroom owns the child porn website and has already been arrested together with alleged users of the site.

An unsealed indictment involving 23-year-old Jong Woo Son from South Korea, reveals that the authorities were able to zero-in the suspect by following the trail of bitcoin payments made by the users of his website. Son operated a child porn website called “Welcome to Video” and can only be accessed through the Darkweb. The site contained more than 250,000 unique videos.

The authorities revealed that while the website can be accessed for free by users by providing a username and a password, a user can also opt to buy a “VIP” account, which gives users unlimited downloads for six months if they exchanged Bitcoin valued at $328 in March 2018. Nonetheless, the free version of the site still allows limited downloads to users, court records revealed.

Agents from the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division analyzed the trail of the said Bitcoin transactions in order to determine the location of the Darknet server in South Korea and to identify Son as the owner of the child porn ring. The authorities also followed the Bitcoin trail in order to unmask the identities of the users of the said website.

“Our agency’s ability to analyze the blockchain and de-anonymize Bitcoin transactions allowed for the identification of hundreds of predators around the world,” Don Fort, chief of the division, said.

The indictment document also revealed that Son, a South Korean national, is already serving 18 months in prison in the Asian country after being convicted there. The document further revealed that the site had been closed down since March 2018, and authorities have already arrested at least 337 users from different countries around the world. The arrested users came from 11 countries, including the U.K., Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and in more than two dozen U.S. states. This shows that the operation run by Son in his bedroom has a global reach.

Furthermore, authorities revealed that the site encourages users to upload child porn videos, and their discovery included hundreds of thousands of explicit and exploitative images that they have never seen before. At least 23 minor victims in the U.S., Spain, and the U.K. were rescued after they were actively abused by some of the site’s users in order to produce videos to be posted on the website.

“What we are here to discuss today, the sexual exploitation of children is one of the worst forms of human evil imaginable,” Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said Wednesday as she announced the charges.

When a user posts a new video in the child porn platform and recruiting new users to the site, he will be awarded “points,” which can be used to download other videos. This behavior clearly shows that the platform is encouraging users to make their own child porn videos. Authorities reveal that site users included former law enforcement personnel and a man from Georgia who videotaped children in his own bathroom.

Be the first to comment on "Bitcoin trail led to nabbing of giant child porn site"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*