International Authorities Bust Child Porn Forum Operator


Russian and German authorities collaborated in a joint operation that targetted the operator of a darkweb child pornography forum. Together, they busted the owner and closed the forum, according to a recent press release.

Automated Translation of the German Press Release:

Successful International investigation against child pornography platform in Darknet

After months of extensive investigation, the cybercrime specialists of the State Criminal Police Office of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern have managed to locate the operator of a child pornography platform in the Darknet and have the platform closed. Thus, the investigators have made a significant impact in the fight to protect against sexual abuse of children and against child pornography. For just investigating the Darknet pose the law enforcement authorities facing major challenges. Due to the encrypted data traffic and specific anonymization methods, such investigations are not only particularly time-consuming, but due to their complexity require a pronounced technical expertise.

In this specific case, the State Criminal Police Office of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern received an anonymous reference about a child pornography platform in the Darknet via the page “Netzverweis”. “Netzverweis” is an Internet site that has existed since 2010 and is directed against crime on the Internet and is under the patronage of the Ministry of the Interior and Sport Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The focus is not only on child and youth pornography, but also on cybercrime and extremism. The State Office of Criminal Investigation Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with the support of the police departments of the state, is responsible for the content of the received information.

One of these references led the investigators to a child pornography platform in the Darknet. Under the direction of the priority prosecutor Cybercrime in Rostock, the investigations were taken over by the department 45 / Cybercrime of the State Criminal Police Office Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. A comprehensive evaluation of the digital traces led the criminal police, inter alia, to a Scandinavian company, with their help and other findings, a Russian suspect as operator of the Darknet platform could be located.

Afterwards, the BKA liaison officer was contacted by the Central Office for Child Pornography of the BKA. He arranged contact with Russian colleagues and arranged a meeting in Moscow. As part of the working meeting, the exchange of further operational investigation findings and the vote of the investigators of the State Office of Criminal Investigation and the prosecutor with the Russian investigators. Subsequently, the Russian investigative authorities carried out extensive searches of the suspect in Novocherkassk (RUS), which confirmed the findings obtained by the State Office of Criminal Investigation Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. An evaluation of the evidence found provided evidence of running a network of several hundred users who had access to about 300. 000 illegal child pornography files. In addition, narcotics were found in the suspect. The Russian authorities shut down the platform.

The investigation report and the indictment of the Russian public prosecutor’s office were filed on 08.11.2018 in court. The opening of the main proceedings against the suspect before the court in Novocherkassky in the judicial district Rostov-on-Don is currently expected.

The identification and arrest of the Russian suspect represent a significant investigative success of the cybercrime unit of the Criminal Investigation Bureau MV and at the same time demonstrate the importance of international cooperation between police authorities, especially in the fight against child pornography and cybercrime.

Investigations into child pornography:

Nationwide, since 2012, there has been a sharp increase in child pornography activity figures. The Federal Criminal Police Office is currently receiving most of the information on files containing child pornography from the US non-governmental organization National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). This in turn works together with American Internet service providers and service providers such as Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo or Google, which scan their data and the data disseminated through their services using state-of-the-art filter technologies for abuse images.

The detected files are deleted and the available information is transmitted to the NCMEC. The NCMEC forwards these suspicious transaction reports on the basis of the IP address (address from which the upload of the criminally relevant material took place) to the relevant police central office of the country in which the offense took place.

More than 35,000 indications of possible criminal acts in Germany thus entered the Federal Criminal Police Office in 2017. As the central office, the Federal Criminal Police Office is responsible for the evaluation and forwarding of the findings to the competent law enforcement authorities of the federal states.

Due to the increasing international networking and specialization as well as the systematization of procedures, there is also a significant increase in so-called identification procedures with suspected victims and perpetrators in Germany.

These developments are increasingly leading to heavy burdens in all involved law enforcement agencies, in particular at the point of contact child pornography in the state criminal investigation office MV, the responsible public prosecutor’s offices as well as the locally responsible police departments in the fight against child pornography.