Last year in July, FBI was able to gain control of the servers of Freedom Hosting. Once the agency had access, it was able to gather data on the hosting company, over suspicions that it was helping in child pornography. Yesterday, FBI has publicly admitted for the first time that it did indeed control Freedom Hosting’s servers.
It is not clear exactly how the agency gained control of the servers. But what is obvious now is that the custom malware served by the servers of Freedom Hosting to the visitors was created and used by FBI itself.
During the entire operation, the agency was briefly pushed back when the operator of Freedom Hosting, Eric Eoin Marques, was able to gain back the access of servers and changed passwords. It took FBI a while to break into the security yet again and regain control.
Then this year in August, FBI was able to take down the servers. All the sites hosted by Freedom Hosting started giving an error. When the error page’s code was inspected, it was revealed that a snippet of the code exploited a Firefox security hole to identify any such users which are arriving through Tor Browser Bundle. Hints were found that this snippet of code reported back to FBI and today, the agency has confirmed it.
Currently, Marques is engaged in a legal battle, trying to fight the demand of his extradition made by the U.S. government. The charges that have been brought against him include helping child pornography at a huge scale.