Adults using Snapchat, Twitter and other apps to lure children

'Human Hacker' says many victims end up on the darknet

By Mike Holfeld - Investigative Reporter

The man known as the Human Hacker says popular apps such as Snapchat, Kik and Twitter are being used to “groom“ or lure kids and teens away from their homes, many ending up on child pornography sites on the darknet.

“There’s just so much teen and child pornography links on Twitter it’s unbelievable," Chris Hadnagy said. "The accounts may be blown up in a day, a week, two weeks but it’s enough that the people who know how to 'scrape' (comb the internet) can make the connection.”

Hadnagy, author of the book "Phishing Dark Waters," works closely with the FBI and trains law enforcement and corporate security teams to track hackers and pedophiles.

He said adults scrape for teen and child pornography links via code names like CP and Cheese Pizza, but the names and links are constantly changing. 

“In this country there’s something that is very disturbing," Hadnagy said. “Child erotica is not illegal, child pornography is illegal.”

Hadnagy said there are “tens of thousands” of child erotica sites showing children partially clothed but they carry links to “hardcore videos” of those same children.

That prompted Hadnagy to launch a nonprofit organization called Innocent Lives Foundation, dedicated to helping parents find their missing children and unmask pedophiles before they lure children and teens.

Hadnagy admitted tracking pedophiles is challenging.

“They don’t make it easy, and they are getting more and more tech savvy and intelligent when it comes to technology. That’s why this kind of a non-profit is so important,” he said.

ILF has recruited men and women in the security expert community, using those skills to “unmask the people who would exploit children.”

Hadnagy said two of his cases led to the arrest of men involved in child trafficking and producing child pornography for the Dark Web.

Hadnagy's investigations of missing children and teens has taken him to a Texas-Florida connection.

Cynthia Lowry, 17, was last seen going into her San Antonio high school on Jan.17, her mother told News 6 she had been communicating with a 25-year-old woman.

Cynthia Lowry, the teen’s mother, said they have a phone record that shows a call made to Kissimmee, nine days after her daughter, a high school junior, went missing.

[VIEW: Missing child poster for Cynthia Lowry]

“There’s no texting between them whatsoever but they did use Snapchat,” she told News 6. “I think this person had a plan, some type of plan in her mind she was going to get my daughter no matter what.”

Police detectives in San Antonio are treating the case as a runaway teen, but Mrs. Lowery said when she called the Kissimmee number she spoke to the 25-year-old woman she suspects of luring her daughter. 

Hadnagy is convinced “grooming” played a role in the case now he needs someone to come forward.

“Our mission statement is that these people are handled properly, which means law enforcement arrests them and puts them away,” he said.

For more information on the Innocent Lives Foundation, click here

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