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Freedom Hosting Admin Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison

The administrator of the darkweb hosting service Freedom Hosting was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang sentenced Eric Eoin Marques, age 36, of Dublin, Ireland, to 27 years in prison followed by lifetime supervision. Marques, the creator of the darkweb hosting service Freedom Hosting, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to advertise child pornography.

A picture of Marques leaving a High Court in Dublin after an extradition hearing

Marques leaving a High Court in Dublin after an extradition hearing

Marques established Freedom Hosting in 2008 as a free hosting service for onion services. Before the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s seizure of the service in 2013, at least half of the onion services in operation used Freedom Hosting. Traditionally, in the United States, providers of electronic services are not directly responsible for user-created content. Freedom Hosting, publicly at least, pretended not to have any involvement in the operation or use of onion services created by Freedom Hosting users. In reality, Marques directly assisted certain services in their day-to-day operation. He specifically assisted services that facilitated the distribution of content depicting child abuse.

During the investigation, the FBI learned that Freedom Hosting provided hosting for more than 200 child exploitation sites. The sites contained millions of pictures and videos. Almost two million files involved victims that law enforcement had identified in previous investigations.

A picture of Freedom Hosting, publicly, seemed no different than other small hosting services.

Freedom Hosting, publicly, seemed no different than other small hosting services.

Administrators of child abuse forums revealed Marques' role in their operation.

On April 24, 2013, a user of Website A posted a message asking whether the anonymous hosting service (AHS) is free to the end-user. On April 25, 2013, the administrator of Website A responded that the AHS is “100% free” and that the administrator assumes that “the admin covers [the cost] himself as a·service to the [Network] pedo community.”

Website A, in this instance, is a reference to one of the largest child exploitation forums at the time. In a similar thread, users of the forum talked about Marques' additional involvement:

On May 31, 2013, the administrator of Website A replied to a user that claimed, “[AHS] has NO control of the sites it hosts. It only hosts them.” The administrator responded, stating, “In reality [AHS] has full control over all the websites hosted on their servers. Just a few days ago they patched a few of the core files running this very forum.” Later in the same conversation, the administrator noted that, though AHS does not “create or maintain ( as far as I know) any of the sites they are hosting” AHS could “do whatever they wanted with the sites they host as they inherently have full access to the databases behind the sites.”

The FBI first took control of the Freedom Hosting servers in July 2013 but lost control after Marques regained access by changing passwords. On July 29, authorities in Ireland arrested Marques on an international arrest warrant. The FBI once again took control of the Freedom Hosting servers. Shortly after Marques' arrest, every onion service hosted by Freedom Hosting displayed a “Down for Maintenance.” Many of the sites had nothing to do with the spread of child abuse content, including Tor Mail and the Hidden Wiki. The maintenance page contained a hidden iframe that contained javascript code. The code exploited a memory management vulnerability in Firefox 17 ESR. The Tor Browser Bundle, at the time, was based on the vulnerable version of Firefox (and shipped with NoScript disabled by default).

Inside the code was a Windows executable (Magneto) that reported a computer’s real I.P. address, MAC address, and Windows hostname to a server in Virginia with the I.P. address 65.222.202.54. So, the malware effectively identified the visitors of sites hosted by Freedom Hosting who were using the Tor Browser on Windows and with javascript enabled.

A picture of The javascript variable “Magneto” contained the Windows executable.

The javascript variable “Magneto” contained the Windows executable.

There are many interesting breakdowns of the malware available online as well as the potential impact of the FBI’s NIT deployment.

32 Comments
TheDon
ab2afce0 Fri, Sep 17, 2021

No FUCKING way

simbolholis
0f601060 Fri, Sep 17, 2021

Great News Coverage

wow
e0315350 Sat, Sep 18, 2021

holy shit they got samculper?

owow
55ff59e0 Sun, Sep 19, 2021

Yeah Samculper is busted and gers fucked in his anus for 27 years straight

ICEverything
5215ccd0 Sun, Sep 19, 2021

Conspiracy to advertise? This seems like a made up charge. A one-man “conspiracy” seems dubious at best.

I’m not defending chomos, but “looking isn’t doing” and this seems steep for running a free hosting site.

We all know the FBI really wanted access to the emails on Tor Mail and Freedom Hosting was just an easy grab/excuse to do so. (We got to see EGOTISTICAL GIRAFFE in operation too.)

newswoman
2e47ca10 Sun, Sep 19, 2021

The guy was literally in direct control of all hosted sites. Also, I'm pretty sure where pedophilia and the people who host it are concerned, looking is doing. If you're the host, you're hosting it. And that's doing it. Stepping aside whether you believe he's 100% culpable because he was 'only' hosting hundred+ sites full of CP that OTHER users uploaded TO him, what kind of person or sysadmin would somehow be unaware of what they were hosting? PHP had to be uploaded via a zip file straight to him; he ignored what that code did and provided his hosting services freely to anyone who wanted it because he agreed with the aims of some of those sites (and very likely profited directly from their operation, giving him the excuse of "but I let everyone host whatever they want for free").

alt
6a051a70 Tue, Sep 21, 2021

He agreed with freedom speech and therefore hosted anything.

Axel Haxel
d9c44db0 Tue, Sep 21, 2021

It's not freedom 'speech' if others suffer from it..

GraceKönig
2390b950 Wed, Sep 22, 2021

I swear, everyone nowadays thinks Freedom of Speech means they should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want because “muh rights!”. jfc.
FoS was created to protect people when expressing beliefs pertaining to politics, religion, government, ideologies, etc. But there are areas of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment (if in the U.S.) including obscenity (as determined by the Miller test), fraud, child pornography, speech integral to illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawless action, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising.

Facilitating in the administration of CP sites that encourage pieces of shit to harm & traumatize children for their own disgustingly selfish reasons, and allowing files to be uploaded and distributed that contain evil shit like that deserve to rot in prison. I hope he suffers every single day of his life.

GraceKönig
2486d920 Wed, Sep 22, 2021

I swear, everyone nowadays thinks Freedom of Speech means they should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want because “muh rights!”. jfc.
FoS was created to protect people when expressing beliefs pertaining to politics, religion, government, ideologies, etc. But there are areas of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment (if in the U.S.) including obscenity (as determined by the Miller test), fraud, child pornography, speech integral to illegal conduct, speech that incites imminent lawless action, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising.

Facilitating in the administration of CP sites that encourage pieces of shit to harm & traumatize children for their own disgustingly selfish reasons, and allowing files to be uploaded and distributed that contain evil shit like that deserve to rot in prison. I hope he suffers every single day of his life.

SpeechFreak
2f10e8a0 Wed, Sep 22, 2021

@GraceKönig. I see you know how to copy/paste from Wikipedia without attribution.

I swear, everyone nowadays thinks Freedom of Speech means they should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want because “muh rights!”. jfc.

No. “Freedom of Speech” just means you can say whatever the hell you want.

well
3a1d0360 Sun, Sep 19, 2021

WOW, that's insane!

wowie
69c09250 Sun, Sep 19, 2021

Yeah Samculper is busted and gets fucked in his anus for 27 years straight

YogiMaster
24ce9110 Sun, Sep 19, 2021

WTF, free him!

Bert
aa471950 Sun, Sep 19, 2021

Yes, FREE HIM!

havoc.
64330830 Tue, Sep 21, 2021

Good. Hope this bozo doesn’t live long enough to see the end of those 27 years.

27 Yr Shiter Sit
605beb10 Tue, Sep 21, 2021

And this class is why we manually disable JavaScript. CP is evil, fucker got what was coming to him.

Logical Person
2867a120 Wed, Sep 22, 2021

And this folks is why we always ALWAYS have javascript disabled! Never know who's tampering with what. And I'm not just talking about the FBI cracking down on childporn. If you're an activist in Saudi Arabia or whatever imagine what your government could uncover if they got control over such a resource.

Savethekids-kill
dc1fe250 Wed, Sep 22, 2021

He will have a special place in hell. He was just as bad as the chomos who wanted the sites up in the first place, he most likely profited from it or was a chomo himself, bullet to the back of the head was more a fair punishment. Hopefully he gets killed off some aspiring AB prisoner or this piece of shit kills himself

ICEverything
f51b99e0 Fri, Sep 24, 2021

Instead of using police resources to pull down a website with disgusting material why aren’t those resources allocated to actually catching pedophiles? You know, the ones actually producing the content.

It’s like expending police resources to arrest people who jack-off to pictures of a murder scene. In reality, this is a mental health issue and society should treat it as such.

Treatment programs could actually stop a first offense and save a child from abuse. Preventing crime is always cheaper.

Instead society waves pitch forks at the mentally ill, they are marginalized, and can not even begin to (willingly or otherwise) seek mental help. What do you think prison does to the mentally ill? It actually makes mental illness worse. Shocking!

As for the promotion angle: the same failed arguments have been tried for violent video games, using sex to sell jeans etc.

a
ace92c40 Thu, Sep 23, 2021

fuck this guy deserved it for cp

qpqpqpqpq
7d55dc20 Sat, Sep 25, 2021

27 years is quite long time

ac29778
f6db9d40 Sun, Sep 26, 2021

27 years is to short. Life in prison was the best sentence. He knew what was going on on his servers. I hope he will get fucked in his ass so blood comes out of his anus.

allahCircsWomen
8c612560 Mon, Sep 27, 2021

foreskin amputations cause sado maso. circumcision associates sexuality with extreme pain. hosting such forums relives that trauma with an exchange of roles: now the admin is the powerful abuser / attacker. the helplessness by the victims in their circumcision causes former victims to victimize children to gain the upper hand completing the circle of violence. if child abuse is wrong, then non-consenting foreskin amputation in minors must be outlawed to protect reenactment of trauma causing child abuse. child abuse is wrong. consequence: both female and male circumcision must be outlawed to prevent harm and traumatization of children.

Fascist
1dc3d2d0 Tue, Sep 28, 2021

Holy shit

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saila
4422acd0 Tue, Sep 28, 2021

If you care about kids, actually spend time with them and take care of them. They are not a tool to let you justify your psychopathic fantasies.

lost skills
c866fa30 Sat, Oct 2, 2021

I dont understand. How does the admin of Freedom hosting know what they contents have? Maybe he didn't make it mandatory to only accept encrypted files. Does anyone know if he made any tutorials on how to run a secure hosting server? This is why it's important to share your knowledge. Now all of it is locked in a jail cell.

mikesandersisdum
0f0ddc80 Fri, Oct 8, 2021

Mike Sanders using gmail lmao see u on darknetlive idiot

lkhgfdsa_nobody
a28def40 Sun, Oct 10, 2021

hahahhaa fucking javascript man. Glad we all have it disabled now.

fjgb
479378c0 Sat, Oct 16, 2021

Even back then most people had JS disabled. Tails was becoming more widely used as well. This would only have caught a small number of people who weren’t trying very hard.

So sad about 12chan.

© 2021 Darknet
29e57f70 Sat, Oct 16, 2021

Nostalgia.

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