We have recently blogged about big botnet contender Mega-Dik, to remind people of the pervasiveness of botnets today (and that Storm is not the only force to reckon with in terms of illicitly-acquired distributed computing power).
It is thus with great cheer that we pick up this report from Calgary Herald’s Ravensbergen. After observing the activities of the suspected hacking ring in an investigation stretching as far back as 2006, the Quebec police, headed by Capt. Frederick Gaudreau, was able to apprehend 17 people (ages at 17 to 26) in raids conducted almost a week ago in 12 towns across the province.
By using remote-access software, these people (one of which is a 19-year-old woman) were able to extend control to around a million computers in more than a hundred countries. Zombified computers were made to conduct various spamming and phishing activities on behalf of the bot masters. Victims of this gang were from Poland, Brazil, Mexico, Manitoba and the US, amongst others, and the estimated total damages to governments (which the police choose not to name as of this writing), businesses and homes, was pegged by Gaudreau at $45M.
The suspects to these computer-related crimes enabled by the botnet are set to appear in court today to answer charges for illegally obtaining computer services (10 years max in jail), but more may follow after forensic analysis of hardware confiscated during the raids. The entire operation consumed a lot of manpower as hundreds of Quebec police and Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers were said to have worked together to take this group down. But in any case, this victory only goes to show the seriousness with which authorities across the world are taking crimes committed online.