Images of over 700 women from Brisbane and nearby areas, either scantily-clad or in the nude, have been shared online without owners’ consent by an individual who hosted the cache in a cloud storage service.
The hacker made multiple attempts to keep the data online and first published them on Friday on a forum. On Monday morning, the photos were taken down but reappeared by the evening.
Hacker is determined to share the photos
For easy distribution, the cache was uploaded to a file sharing service whose name remains undisclosed. Brisbane Times reports that the business is based in New Zealand, which should make it easy to identify it.
The police intervened on Tuesday to take the photos down a second time, but it looks like the individual is adamant on sharing them, promising that they would end up on websites on the Deep Web, a part of the Internet designed generally for anonymity, that is not indexed by search engines and it is not accessible via regular web browsers.
Although the Deep Web was created with honorable intentions (protecting privacy of the users like political activists or journalists), it also functions as an online dark alley where illegal businesses are carried out.
Little can be done to halt distribution, but the hacker can be arrested
“Come at me aussie police,” the hacker allegedly taunted before saying that the pics would be distributed in the anonymous network.
The police is not investigating the case because at least one complaint from a victim is needed and none has been received until now.
However, law enforcement will not stand idle and will do what is legally possible to minimize harm on the victims.
“The thing is, we don’t have a complaint and the focus has to be on harm minimisation to try and get these things down so people’s lives aren’t ruined,” Fraud and Cyber Crime Group Detective Superintendent Brian Hay told Brisbane Times.
The trouble is that once information is online, there is little one can do to prevent it from being shared.