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[ISN] Hacker arrested for creating 'zombie' computers


By Joelle Pouliot
Postmedia News
July 19, 2011

LAVAL, Que. -- RCMP investigators arrested a 24-year-old computer hacker from Laval on Tuesday, who was apprehended for creating a botnet -- a collection of computers infected with a virus and controlled remotely by him.

Joseph Mercier, an information security manager for an unidentified employer in Quebec, is accused of programming a virus to make a botnet infrastructure. Through these programs, police say he was able to infect servers in Canada and abroad to build and control a vast network of zombie computers.

Although his botnet was predominantly concentrated in Quebec, he also took control of servers in Russia, the United Arab Emirates, France and the United States. Two school boards in Quebec and his current employer are also among his victims.

The suspect infiltrated computers owned by both citizens and businesses. He was able to capture what people typed on their keyboards and copy files from computers to steal the identity of their users. He could upload corrupted files and do mass spam emailing to infect the user's contacts.

Police say he could also see and record images from users' webcams.


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