The Hidden Wiki is a website that uses hidden services available through the Tor network. The use of Tor to provide anonymity allows the site to advertise links to a range of other sites, including ones offering illegal drugs and child pornography. The site provides a range of links in a wiki format to other hidden services and sites on the clearnet (sites that can be accessed in a standard browser).
These include links to child pornography sites, sites selling drugs and other contraband such as the Silk Road. Scot Terban, an independent security researcher, commented: ‘It’s kind of like any black market operation except this one was in cyberspace and pretty much completely anonymous. Because it was anonymous, people felt free to trade openly in illegal things, mess around by putting up ads for services like hired assassins, and in the end, became a haven for pedophiles and their content.’
In 2011, the hacktivist collective Anonymous launched ‘Operation Darknet,’ in an attempt to disrupt the activities of child porn sites accessed through hidden services. Anonymous published a link that it claimed were the user names of 1,589 members of ‘Lolita City,’ a child porn site accessed via the Tor network. Anonymous said that it had found the site via ‘The Hidden Wiki,’ and that it contained over 100 gigabytes of child pornography. ‘Lolita City’ was taken offline in a denial-of-service attack by Anonymous. Graham Cluley, a security expert, argued that attacks on hidden child porn websites could be counterproductive, commenting: ‘Their intentions may have been good, but take-downs of illegal websites and sharing networks should be done by the authorities, not internet vigilantes.’