Seventeen people ranging in age from seventeen to twenty-six have been rounded up by police in raids carried out in a dozen towns across Quebec. They're charged with participating in an international computer hacking ring. The hosers.
Police raiding parties also sealed and carted away dozens of hard drives and other computer components from the homes of each of the suspects.
This hardware is believed to contain the smoking guns -- a bonanza of incriminating data to document the alleged ring, said SQ Capt. Frederick Gaudreau, lead investigator.
"This is a new form of organized crime," he proclaimed to reporters summoned to SQ headquarters in Montreal.
Savvy youngsters who've grown up with computers can take advantage of lax or inattentive users connected via broadband to the Internet.
That's what this ring did, Capt. Gaudreau alleged, adding that its operators extended their electronic tentacles from some of Quebec's smaller towns to seize control, via sophisticated remote-access software, of almost a million computers in more than 100 countries.
Ooh. Electronic tentacles. That sounds bad. The investigator's premise that this is a "new kind of organized crime" tells you all you need to know about why the situation is so out of hand. The police are just figuring out that some people are stealing things on the Internet. That's not exactly news to the rest of us.