Cybersecurity Expert Convicted in Underground Child Porn Ring

https://www.theblot.com/cybersecurity-expert-convicted-underground-child-porn-ring-2-7725501

He used Tor. He still got busted.

Timothy DeFoggi, the former head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s cybersecurity office, was convicted last week on three criminal charges of downloading and conspiracy to distribute child pornography.

DeFoggi was the sixth person captured in a controversial FBI sting operation in which agents kept hidden child porn websites operational for several weeks in order to identify, and later arrest, suspected predators.

 began when agents unmasked Nebraska resident Aaron McGrath, who has been convicted for his role in operating several child porn websites that could only be accessed on the so-called “dark net.” One conventional way of accessing dark net websites is via Tor, an anonymizing software suite that uses a modified Firefox browser to encrypt and route normal Internet traffic through several layers of networks.

Using previously-unknown exploits in the Tor anonymizing service, agents gathered personal communication and web traffic of DeFoggi and at least five others. Once agents identified DeFoggi, the FBI  to bug his Internet traffic. That bug gathered additional evidence against DeFoggi, including an early-morning session in which DeFoggi used the username “ptasseater” on the dark net social website PedoBook in order to download child porn.

In another case, DeFoggi suggested to another PedoBook member that they meet in person “to fulfill their mutual fantasies to violently rape and murder children,” according to a Department of Justice press release.

When the FBI conducted a search warrant on DeFoggi’s home last year,  “had to pry him from his laptop, which was in the process of downloading a child porn video from a Tor web site.”

DeFoggi was charged last year. His trial lasted four days. A jury returned a three-count conviction against the man last week. His sentencing is scheduled for early November.

At last count, the FBI says it had identified more than two dozen Americans who were active members of the underground child porn website. The agency’s tactics for unmasking the men has been at the center of controversy since Operation Torpedo was exposed.

Matthew Keys is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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