'Human hacker' fights to stop online predators targeting children across country

Chris Hadnagy runs Innocent Lives Foundation

By Meaghan St Pierre - Producer

DETROIT - Chris Hadnagy, known in the law enforcement community as the human hacker, is focused on stopping online predators who target children.

Hadnagy, who runs the Innocent Lives Foundation, said social media apps like Snapchat, Kik and Twitter are being used to groom or lure children and teens away from their homes, with many ending up on child pornography sites on the dark web.

"There's just so much teen and child pornography links on Twitter, it's unbelievable," 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 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.

Through his nonprofit, Innocent Lives Foundation, Hadnagy and his team of high-tech experts search the internet to uncover the predators preying on children. He said 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 nonprofit is so important," he said.

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

For more information on the Innocent Lives Foundation, click here.

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