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Bitcoin money trail leads cops to ‘world’s largest’ child abuse site – Naked Security

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

US, British and South Korean police announced on Wednesday that they have taken down Welcome To Video: a Darknet market that had what the US Department of Justice (DOJ) says is the world’s most voluminous offerings of child abuse imagery.

The DOJ called this the largest market for child sexual abuse videos, and that this is one of the largest seizures of this type of contraband. The 8 terabytes worth of child sexual abuse videos, which are now being analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), comprise over 250,000 unique videos, 45% of which contain new images that weren’t previously known to exist.

The global crackdown, which has so far led to the arrest of 337 alleged users and the indictment of the website’s admin, has led to the rescue of at least 23 victims living in the US, Spain and the UK. The DOJ says that the minors were actively being abused by site users.

The admin of Welcome to Video, who was indicted on Wednesday, is Jong Woo Son, 23, a South Korean national who was previously charged and convicted in South Korea. He’s now serving his sentence in South Korea.

The global dragnet has scooped up 337 alleged site users who’ve been arrested and charged worldwide: throughout the US, the UK, South Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia. About 92 individuals’ home and businesses in the US have been searched.

Five search warrants issued in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area have led to the arrests of eight people suspected of both conspiring with Jong Woo Son and of being website users themselves. The DOJ says that two suspected users committed suicide after the search warrants were executed.

The bust

According to the indictment, on 5 March 2018, a global police force – including agents from the UK, the Korean National Police in South Korea, the US Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), and the US Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – arrested Jong Woo Son and seized the server that he used to operate the market.

Welcome To Video specialized in exclusively selling child sexual exploitation videos. The site, which operated from June 2015 to March 2018, had a message on its landing page explicitly warning users to “not upload adult porn.” As of 8 February 2018, Welcome to Video indicated on its download page that users had downloaded files more than a million times.

The material documented abuse of pre-pubescent children, toddlers and infants as young as six months.