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Québec cops bust massive botnet ring

17-strong hacking network clubbed

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Canadian police have arrested 17 people suspected of running a huge botnet of compromised PCs. Up to one million computers in various countries were allegedly under the control of the suspects, who range in ages from 17 to 26. All but one are male, UPI reports.

Seven were arrested in dawn raids by the Sûreté du Québec and Royal Canadian Mounted Police. They were charged with offences including illegally obtaining computer services, illegally possessing computer passwords, and hacking. Conviction could result in sentences of up to 10 years behind bars.

Captain Frédérick Gaudreau, spokesman for the Sûreté du Québec provincial police force, said that hundreds of police officers were involved in Canada's biggest computer hacking case. The gang has been under investigation since the summer of 2006.

Police say the gang made up to C$45m (US$44.6m) from cybercrime-related activities such as phishing and ID theft, according to CBC News. Other news outlets describe this figure as an estimate of the damage caused by the gang. ®

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