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LISTEN | Hunting Warhead

Hunting Warhead follows an international team of police officers as they attempt to track down the people behind a massive child-abuse site on the dark web — and the morally complicated lengths authorities will go to to do so.

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Hunting Warhead is a new co-produced podcast from CBC Podcasts and Norway's VG newspaper. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

How do you take down a criminal network that's hidden in the shadows? How do you rescue child abuse victims who could be anywhere in the world?

Hunting Warhead follows the journalists and police on a global mission to expose the darkest corners of the internet. What they discover shocks them.

Host Daemon Fairless tracks down the investigators, survivors and criminals themselves. This series is a co-production between CBC Podcasts and the Norwegian newspaper VG.

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Episode 1: Hacker vs. Hacker

This episode explores the existence of the deep web and dark web, and how these non-indexed sites occupy more space on the internet than anything else. (Sarah Claydon)
Einar Stangvik is a white-hat hacker — an internet security expert with an expertise in cracking the most secure and disturbing parts of the web. He discovers a troubling phenomenon online and joins forces with journalist Håkon Høydal. It leads them to Australia, to confront two men who are running the largest child abuse site on the dark net. 54:13

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Episode 2: Rude Awakening

Episode 2 examines the borderless nature of dark web activity, and how child abuse sites are being operated from across the world. (Sarah Claydon)
All Gordon wants for his birthday is to travel to Washington, D.C., to visit museums and see the opera. He’s completely unaware that his companion on this trip has very different plans. His friend has an alter ego, Warhead, and it turns out police are not far behind. 44:14

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Episode 3: Operation Artemis

Episode 3 delves into the nature of the police operation that exposed the dark web's biggest child abuse site. (Sarah Claydon)
After the arrest of Canadian Benjamin Faulkner, Taskforce Argos has to learn how to become Warhead on Child’s Play, before its users realize that the site has been compromised. But time is running out — and very difficult moral decisions will have to be made. 44:25

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Episode 4: Impact Statement

This episode introduces a close family member of Ben Faulkner's. (Sarah Claydon)
Jenn was home alone with her children when she received a call from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They needed to talk to her as soon as possible. It was about her relative, Ben Faulkner. 47:50

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Episode 5: Becoming Warhead

In episode 5, host Daemon Fairless speaks on the phone with Ben Faulkner, AKA Warhead. (Sarah Claydon)
What led Benjamin Faulkner to become Warhead? And, more importantly, how do you prevent others like him from following the same path? 1:05:52

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Episode 6: Fallout

In the Hunting Warhead finale, we enter the courtroom. (sarah Claydon)
At Faulkner’s final sentencing hearing, we finally discover the true extent of his activities on the dark web. We thought we knew everything he had been up to. We were wrong. 53:58