The attacks against ASACP, formally known as the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, are currently in the form of spam emails sent by bot networks. The emails are designed to trick people into receiving a message that their IP address has been reported to ASACP for searching or downloading suspected child pornography.
“We wish to make everyone aware that ASACP does not investigate individuals, only suspected child pornography websites and never, under any circumstances, initiates such contacts,” ASACP CEO Joan Irvine said. "Our mode of operation is detailed on the About ASACP page."
ASACP has added an explanation for the public to its CP reporting page and alerted the appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Bot networks are computer systems infected with malicious software that allows an individual to control a vast network of computers without the knowledge of the computers' owners. These bot networks can be used to carry out denial of service attacks against websites, send large quantities of spam email, and even host illegal content. ASACP recommends that having a good, up-to-date, antivirus security suite installed is the best way to guard against a computer becoming part of a bot network.
While it is impossible to determine the exact source, ASACP Technology and Forensic Research Director Tim Henning believes that it likely originates with the very criminals the organization strives to shut down.
"CP operators would like nothing better than to hinder our operations," said Henning, who has overseen ASACP's online CP reporting hotline for more than 13 years and also participates in the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography. "The work we do helps stop them from making money from child pornography. Obviously, the efforts of ASACP, other hotlines, and the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography have been very effective." Anyone receiving a suspicious email, IM communication or message on a website purporting to come from ASACP is requested to forward it to ASACP at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1996, the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating child pornography from the Internet. ASACP also works to help parents prevent children from viewing age-inappropriate material online.