Someone claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous compromised a private web hosting service last week, taking down more than 10,000 sites on the highly encrypted "dark web," security researchers said.
As NBC News reports, the hacker or hackers broke into the hidden web hosting service Freedom Hosting II, claiming to have harvested all of the sites' files and its database, totaling almost 80 gigabytes of material.
"Dark web" is the term used to describe the networks of private sites that exist on the same public internet you use at home and at work but that are accessible only through special software or access configurations.
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Sites on the dark web are often used for legitimate, even laudable, purposes, such as protecting political and social activists' communications from opponents and repressive governments. But such sites are also often used — in back-alley locations that make up what is sometimes called "darknet" — to shield illegal activities from law enforcement, particularly black markets in weapons, drugs and child pornography.