French arrest 22 alleged hackers

French authorities have arrested 22 suspected corporate...

French authorities have arrested 22 suspected corporate computer hackers.

The gang is alleged to have broken into corporate networks in France, Russia and Iceland.

The 22 alleged hackers were arrested in Paris and southern and central France, following a four-month investigation involving more than 90 members of the police force.

The arrested members of the alleged gang are said to all be younger than 25 years of age, with one reported to be only 13 years old.

According to media reports, the gang were members of an internet forum of some 200 hackers, where they were seen bragging about their "successes".

Police have said that it is not clear at the moment what the motivation for the hacking was, although some data was reportedly destroyed on company networks.

If found guilty of destroying data and degrading network performance in affected companies, the hackers could face a maximum of five years in jail.

"One of the disturbing facts about this story is that 16 of the 22 people arrested are under 18 years old," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at web security software firm Sophos.

"We should question what is going wrong with our education of young people to make them think that computer hacking might be an acceptable way to behave. More has to be done to teach children in school how to use their computer skills responsibly."

According to official statements, 34 businesses in France, Iceland and Russia were allegedly affected by the hacking, but at present only seven firms have registered a formal complaint.

"Companies not only need to be on their guard to defend their systems against cybercriminals and internet hackers, they must also be prepared to report crimes when they occur," said Cluley.

"If individuals and businesses do not come forward and report an offence, the authorities can find it hard to put together a concrete case against the perpetrators."

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