General Crime

Hackers Targeting Company Websites with Child Porn

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Hackers are hiding child abuse images on the websites of unwitting companies to gain access to private computers, an internet group warns.

Cyber criminals have planted extreme content on hundreds of legitimate websites run by individuals and businesses to spread malware, according to the Internet Watch Foundation.

In one case, a furniture company’s website was hosting sexual images of children without its knowledge.

The foundation’s Emma Hardy said: ‘We had barely seen hacked websites hosting child sexual abuse imagery for some time, then last year we experienced a spike in reports.

‘It seems that whoever was behind it used this method to distribute malware. In the process, ordinary internet users were confronted with images of children being sexually abused, as well as having their devices infected.’

The perpetrators target companies with lax security and use their websites to store illegal images linked to infected adult pornography sites.

This means when an internet user clicks on an adult sex video they are bounced to the hacked company website containing child sex pictures.

This also triggers a program that allows hackers to access the browser’s computer – leaving it vulnerable.

Experts believe the objective is not to spread child porn but to frighten the owners of infected computers into not getting them fixed for fear of reprisals.

‘The images were often placed on legitimate businesses’ websites. Those businesses would not have been aware this had happened,’ Ms Hardy added.

The IWF detected 13,182 webpages worldwide containing child sex images last year, up from 9,696 in 2012.

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