Dutch police shut notorious 'revenge porn' site, 3 men arrested

PHOTO: The Straits Times

THE HAGUE - Dutch police said on Thursday (April 26) they have arrested three men for stealing explicit pictures of girls and young women from their cloud data, and shut down a globally notorious "revenge porn" site.

After a year-long complex cyber-crime investigation following a complaint by a woman in March 2017, the police and prosecution service said they had found "enormous amounts of women's personal data and images" on the three men's phones and computers.

"With the confiscation of a server, the police have taken a hackers forum offline," they said in a statement identifying the forum as Anon-IB.

The hackers were mainly interested "in nude photographs and videos of girls and young women, which they stole from the clouds of their victims and shared with one another in other, more hidden locations on the Internet," it added.

Those arrested are aged 28 to 35 and come from the Dutch cities of Heerlen, Culemborg and Groningen. Data from two other suspects has also been seized, but the other two men have not yet been arrested.

They had all been "able to access e-mail boxes, social media accounts and repositories, such as clouds, belonging to hundreds of women" which had not been properly secured, the Dutch police said in a statement.

They procured "sexual images of a few hundred women without the victims noticing," they added.

The suspects had all got to know each other through using Anon-IB, where they "asked for help in obtaining images of specific girls," the police said in a statement.

Once the images were found, they retreated to smaller groups "in hidden places in the web to share the stolen footage."

Police spokesman Joep Patijn told the NOS broadcaster that the crime "involves a lot of women who have been hacked, hundreds or even thousands."

Women from other countries such as Belgium and New Zealand may also be involved, and police will now seek to inform all those whose data may have been stolen if they can identify them.

Anon-IB is notorious for being an image board where tens thousands of exploitative images are shared often anonymously and without the owners' consent.

It had been implicated in the 2014 "Celebgate" scandal when nude photos of actresses including Jennifer Lawrence and model Kate Upton were posted on line.

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