What are Child Abuse Pyramid Sites?
Child Abuse Pyramid Sites (CAP Sites) are a new type of illegal commercial site for the exchange purchase and reproduction of child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
What makes CAP Sites different from other sites?
Sharing, and modifying links is a common tactic used by offenders to disseminate CSAM online. What makes CAP sites unique is the reward system associated with sharing links. Like other pyramid schemes, these sites function, sustain themselves, and grow through an invitation system. “Users” or “customers” are encouraged to share their personal links to invite external people to the site. The more successful invitation links they share the more “points” they can acquire to access CSAM content. Sharing, and modifying links is a common tactic used by offenders to disseminate CSAM online.
Next to regular websites, image hosts, and CAP Sites were one of the most “popular” sources to acquire CSAM in 2022. This trend is increasingly worrying because it actively encourages users to recruit more CSAM consumers, thereby expanding the network of bad actors. This specific form of CSAM distribution was identified as a new trend in 2022 by INHOPE's hotline analysts.
As this new site type was discovered only recently the collected data on CAP sites is still scarce. ICCAM categories have been adapted to include CAP sites as a separate category. This way, 2023 data will provide a more detailed statistical insight into these hosting platforms.
What do I need to know?
Do not click on any suspicious links from unknown parties via email or social media. If you notice users or groups online attempting to encourage other users to visit sites, proceed with caution and report accounts if necessary.
If you come across suspected harmful or illegal material make sure to report it to your national hotline immediately. Find your local hotline here.
If you come across suspected harmful or illegal material make sure to immediately report it to your national hotline. Find your local hotline here.'