Netflix goes down and the world erupts in collective despair.
This Saturday afternoon (Eastern Time), Netflix went offline. Not entirely offline. The homepage still loads, with a big buffet offering of Netflix original TV shows and movies.
This spread is just a tease, however, as users are instead greeted with an error message in any attempt to use the streaming service.
Netflix has acknowledged the outage with a social media post that read:
Hi all – we are aware of streaming issues and we are working quickly to solve them. We will update you when they are resolved.
Predictably, the internet’s hipster corner Twitter blew up with complaints, memes and discussion, with users from around the world showing grief.
@netflix I hate you. Now I actually have to study
Netflix is down, my weekend has been ruined.
#netflix outage. rats.
Netflix is still down!!! God is really making me have to be productive now
Website outage checker DownDetector cites nearly 50,000 reports over the past hour from all over the world, as frustrations mount.
Reasons behind the outage are still unknown. The outage affects Netflix’s services on its website, Chromecast and PlayStation apps (platforms that I could verify connectivity on). However, Netflix’s mobile application, particularly on Android, still works.
To confirm, streaming is accessible via Netflix’s Android application, which throws up further questions behind the service’s weekend outage. Is the reason behind the downtime a DDoS attack? Probably not, as the homepage is still functional. Perhaps the DDoS attack is targeting Netflix’s servers or any one of its content delivery network (CDN) providers. Still, that should ostensibly see Netflix knocked off all platforms, including Android.
Most users wouldn’t care to know the reason behind the outage, of course, as long as Netflix is back up and beaming again.
In the meantime, there’s always room for topical humor.
Want to see Trump ratings drop? Tie him to Netflix going down on this rainy Saturday.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Darknet Child Porn Bust Leads to Hundreds of Arrests in China
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), hundreds of suspects have been arrested in China after a darknet child porn ring was taken down. Reportedly, the videos the ring had were accessed more than 20,000 times, and featured more than 30 under-age girls being abducted, raped and molested.
The child porn ring was run by a 19-year-old known as Sun. Sun had three Terabytes of pornography on his computer when he was arrested, out of which 400 Gigabytes were of child pornography. He is a sophomore student at a Beijing University.
The pornographic material was distributed via instant-messaging groups, croup drives, and an unnamed dark web website. Sun would upload videos to other websites, in exchange for new material “he never saw in China”.
According to the police, some of the videos the child porn ring had were produced and filmed in China. They got to this conclusion by analyzing the language and surroundings of the videos they got their hands on.
Zhang Min, the law enforcement agent in charge of the case, said:
Seeing so many children forced into such a nightmare at such a young age makes every one of our police officers involved in the case extremely angry and sad.
Law Enforcement Agencies More Tech-Savvy Than Ever
It seems law enforcement agencies keep on getting more tech-adept as time goes by. Ever since the Silk Road was taken down in 2013, more and more darknet websites keep going down.
The child porn ring led by Sun was taken down thanks to the US Department of Homeland Security. They warned Chinese law enforcement agencies that users in their country were uploading massive amounts of child pornography on the dark web. The tip led to dozens of arrests, including that of Sun, the leader.
Recently, SCMP also reported dozens were arrested in Taiwan over another child porn crackdown. Other drug-related arrests occur all over the world, almost on a daily basis. Now more than ever, people need to careful when accessing the deep web. If you do something you shouldn’t be doing, the feds may end up knocking on your door.
Image from Shutterstock.
Dutch Police Warns Dark Web Marketplace Users: “You Have Our Attention”
As part of Operation Hyperion, an operation conducted by law enforcement agencies all over the world, Dutch authorities have taken down a Dark Web marketplace and posted a warning on it.
The marketplace’s frontpage lists active and arrested vendors, as well as identified buyers At the top, you can read “You have our attention”. If a username is on the page, it has reportedly been identified by the Dutch police. Next to the list of arrested vendors is a link, that directs users to a page with more information.
Moreover, the website includes a FAQ, that clearly includes a few warning shots:
If your username and residence are on this website, you’re identified as buyer of one or more Dark Markets. This means that your personal details are known to the police and the judicial authorities. It depends on your activities at this underground marketplace what the consequences will be.
As if the first one wasn’t enough, the warnings attempt to specifically target dark web users in the Netherlands:
If you are a resident of the Netherlands and you bought a small user’s quantity of drugs, no legal action will be taken right now. If you bought larger quantities of drugs, or took up other goods or services, then it is possible an investigation will be initiated. Vendors of illicit goods and services through Dark Markets are actively tracked down and prosecuted. Under the heading “Arrested” you’ll find a number of examples.
According to a press release from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the operation targets dark web marketplaces and coordinates law enforcement agencies from all over the world.
New Zealand has reportedly “identified and spoken to” over 160 individuals, and Sweden claims to have identified over 3.000. Other agencies from Canada, Australia, Finland and Spain have reportedly made some arrests as well.
Image from Shutterstock.
FBI Releases Darknet Marketplace Primer
The FBI released on November 1 a primer on darknet marketplaces, just one week after the Bureau wrapped up, along with other U.S. law enforcement, Operation Hyperion. The Operation intended to disrupt darknet marketplaces on the international level.
According to the FBI, the operation started with the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (FELEG), an international coalition of law enforcement agencies based in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They collaborate on intelligence operations to combat transnational crime.
One working group within FELEG, the Cyber Crime Working Group, targets “sophisticated perpetrators operating key criminal services in the cyber underground marketplace.”
FBI agents made contact with more than 150 Darknet marketplace-related individuals in the U.S. who they suspected purchased illicit goods on the darknet.
“Some of these individuals confessed to ordering a range of illegal drugs and controlled substances online, including heroin, cocaine, morphine, and ketamine.”
The FBI released its Primer to help readers understand the Darknet. The Primer details how the Clear Web works, which is what the general public is used to browsing.
“But there is a vast amount of web content out there on the Internet, and much of it is not indexed by traditional search engines—that part of the web is known as the Deep Web,” the Bureau writes. “Its content is still available to the general public, but it’s harder to find unless you have the exact URL. Examples of Deep Web content are websites and forums that require log-ins, websites that don’t allow for indexing or aren’t linked to anything, and databases.” The Bureau then describes the Darknet.
“DarkNet content is not indexed and consists of overlaying networks that use the public Internet but require unique software, configuration, or authorization to access,” the FBI writes. “And this access is predominately designed to hide the identity of the user.”
The Bureau says there is some criminal activity on the Clear Web and Deep Web. “…[T]here are some legitimate uses—and users—of the DarkNet. But because of the anonymity it offers, many criminals and criminal groups gravitate toward the DarkNet, often doing business through online marketplaces set up for nefarious purposes.” The FBI then lists products often found on Darknet marketplaces.
“Typically, products and services involve child sexual exploitation; drugs; guns; chemical, biological, and radiological materials and knowledge; stolen goods; counterfeit goods; and computer hacking tools,” the web post notes. “Payment for these goods and services is usually through virtual currency like bitcoin, also designed to be anonymous.”
The Bureau also goes over how on illicit DarkNet marketplaces buyers provide feedback on products and services in a manner similar to eBay, including internal messaging systems, website forums and so on.
“The difference, of course, is that the feedback, internal messaging, and forums on DarkNet marketplaces focus on topics like the quality of child pornography images, the potency of a particular poison, or the speed at which a cache of guns is mailed to its buyer,” the FBI warns.
The FBI focuses its investigations “not on individual criminals but on the most egregious criminal organization and activities.” The FBI admits difficult accessing Darknet marketplaces due to “their very nature. They say it’s not impossible.
“The Bureau, with its partners, uses all available investigative techniques to target buyers, sellers, marketplace administrators, and the technical infrastructure of the marketplaces themselves. And we have had success doing it.”
There are examples thereof. In November 2014, U.S. law enforcement filed charges against more than 400 hidden service Darknet addresses, such as dozens of illicit marketplace websites on the Onion Router or Tor.
Silk Road 2.0 website operator was arrested and charged. Such actions are “vital” for the FBI’s actions.
“They allow us to dismantle illicit websites and go after those responsible for them,” the Bureau wrote. But they also enable us to develop actionable intelligence on other websites, criminals, and criminal organizations. And the knowledge we gain from these investigations helps us create more sophisticated investigative tools to shine a brighter light into criminal activity on the DarkNet.”
Images from Shutterstock.
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