Hackers make war on Net paedophiles

COMPUTER hackers are becoming cyber vigilantes, in an attempt to rid the Internet of paedophiles trading in child pornography, by passing on details to the police or naming and shaming those involved.

One such hacker is 29-year-old Christian Valor, who lectures on Internet security. Mr Valor, who is better known on the Internet as "Se7en", released what he called his "war manifesto" on the Internet just over a year ago and vowed to deliver "genuine hacker terror" to those he found trading in child pornography on the net.

Although an accomplished hacker, who renamed the CIA web page "the Central Stupidity Agency", Se7en is not a malicious hacker, or "cracker" as they are known.

Most hackers do what they do simply because they can, and occasionally to highlight the inefficiencies in computer programmes that are supposedly secure. Crackers will hack into different systems to cause damage or to steal sensitive information.

Se7en's reasons for beginning his crusade are simple: "I had been lecturing on Internet security for a while, and I had been telling people that the amount of child pornography on the Internet that the media was claiming was there was just hype.

"Then one day I got an e-mail with a picture attachment. I opened up the picture and it was a four-year-old being raped by two grown men. I wasn't able to determine who had sent me the picture, so that's what started me off on this whole thing."

While most of the hackers tracking paedophiles are based in the United States, there are some groups in the UK who are also doing their best to stop the illegal trade.

Cotton Ward, features editor at .net magazine, began her own investigation into paedophiles using the Internet and was surprised by the sheer volume of material available.

Reader response to her story in .net led to a regular update in the magazine on sites and organisations dedicated to tracking down paedophiles.

The Internet, as it is used by most people, is mainly made up of World Wide Web pages, text and graphic files combined into pages that are accessible by anyone with a computer and modem. Alongside this run newsgroups, which pre-date the graphics-driven end of the Internet, and Internet Relay Chat, or IRC.

A newsgroup is a computerised mailing list, where all list members receive any message posted to the list by another user. The IRC chat rooms are areas where users can "chat" live to one another using text messages.

Those involved in hunting the paedophiles tend to log in to other computer systems and find out details of the people behind anonymous e-mail addresses and identities.

Once this is completed, the hackers can then go about naming and shaming the offenders. This can involve logging onto a user's machine and leaving a message on the system so that when anyone else logs on they are given a message explaining that child pornography has been deleted from the computer and naming the user who put it there.

One news group that Se7en terrorises receives about 5,000 postings a week. But this number drops dramatically if he is successful in revealing a paedophile's behaviour.

"Every time I nail someone, this figure drops to about 500 messages and stays that way for a few days. Then it gradually starts to pick up again and is soon back to 5,000."

He doubts whether paedophiles will ever be removed from the Internet: "I don't think anything will ever be done about this. It's part of human nature. The Internet is just a slice of life, a cross-section of the population. People do it, it's something that's always going to be there, you can't control it. They'll nail people here and there, but they will never be able to effectively control it."

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
People walk through Autumn leaves in St James's Park yesterday
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits