Trends: The use of anonymisation technologies, encryption and cloud storage is increasing

Almost a third (30.5 %) of the police officers surveyed pointed to trends that are informed by development in technology or increased use of different technologies. This refers mainly to anonymisation technologies, encryption and more material being saved in cloud storage*.

16 percent of police officers surveyed said that they are seeing an increase in the use of different anonymisation technologies (e.g. TOR**, VPN*** or use of proxy servers****).

11.5 percent pointed to an increase in the use of cloud storage to save or view child sexual abuse material, and 11 percent said that they see encryption increasing.

Anonymisation technologies, encryption and increased use of cloud storage was also mentioned as some of the key challenges and trends in the NetClean Report 2016. This shows that the police officers are continuing to face the same challenges. However, in this year’s report, the NetClean Report 2017, markedly fewer police officers mentioned anonymisation technologies and encryption compared to last year, instead more mentioned cloud storage as an increasing trend.

“More use of VPN or proxys to cover up IP addresses.”

“It seems the use of TOR and VPN/VPS is increasing. The ability to do this is easier and the knowledge of how to do it is more accessible. Also, the direct sharing through cloud storage systems is increasing.”

“Child sexual abuse material possessors are using more encryption, cloud storage, and other networks that are making them harder to find/identify. Some of this is just due to advancing technologies and not because they are actively seeking it.”

“Frequent use of TOR. The use of online storage areas to avoid detection.”

 

* Cloud storage, offered by IT providers, enables people to store and share content with others without saving it to a computer.

** TOR is the most commonly used software to access anonymous websites and encrypted networks on the darknet. It makes it possible to communicate anonymously on the internet.

*** VPN (Virtual Private Network) is technology that makes it possible to create a secure connection between one or several computers on a network (often on the internet).

**** A proxy-server works as an intermediary between two computers or between one computer and the internet, working similarly to a firewall. 

COMMENT ON INSIGHT 8

“Technological development means positive change”

Arnold Guerin, Sgt., RCMP’ s Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children/Behavioural Sciences Branch (CPCMEC/BSB).

READ COMMENT

“Children are increasingly starting to report these sorts of crimes. In addition more children are standing up for themselves, in chat logs for example, threatening to report perpetrators who contact them.”

More insights from the report

DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY – BOTH A CHALLENGE AND AN OPPORTUNITY

THE “NORMAL CASE”: FEWER THAN 50,000–500,000 IMAGES

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A TYPICAL OFFENDER (Consumer of child sexual abuse material)

THERE IS A CORRELATION BETWEEN VIEWING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE MATERIAL AND ABUSING CHILDREN

THE OFFENDER IS MOST LIKELY TO VICTIMISE CLOSE FAMILY MEMBERS OR RELATIVES

CSAM IS VIEWED 24-HOURS A DAY, THROUGHOUT THE WEEK – INCLUDING HOURS SPENT IN THE WORK PLACE

TRENDS: THE USE OF CHATROOMS AND APPS IS INCREASING

TRENDS: THE USE OF ANONYMISATION TECHNOLOGIES, ENCRYPTION AND CLOUD STORAGE IS INCREASING

THOUGHTS ON THE REPORT

“To eradicate child sexual abuse we need more resources, and, most importantly, they need to be applied in the right way.”