Computer Crime Research Center


Major Canadian hacker ring cracked

Date: February 22, 2008
By: Robert Jaques

Canadian police have arrested 17 people suspected of running the country's largest and most damaging hacker network.

The Sûreté du Québec and Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested people in 12 locations in a co-ordinated series of dawn raids.

The gang is believed to have run a botnet of up to one million zombie PCs, spanning 100 countries around the globe.

Seven people were charged with illegally obtaining computer services, illegally possessing computer passwords and hacking.

Police confiscated computer equipment during the raids, and information found on the PCs may lead to more charges against other alleged gang members.

Captain Frédérick Gaudreau, head of Canada's computer crime squad, said that the gang members could face up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty.

Hundreds of officers were involved in the investigation after complaints were made in the summer of 2006 from business and government computer users.

"The Canadian authorities should be applauded for investigating organised cyber-crime which is blighting computer users around the world," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"Huge amounts of money can be made by hackers running zombie botnets, installing adware, renting out the network to launch blackmailing attacks against websites, or using them to steal identities or spew out spam campaigns.

"Running an illegal botnet is a serious crime, and those found guilty must be punished appropriately."

A US teenager pleaded guilty last week to running a botnet of computers that included US military computers.

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