Quebec provincial police say they've dismantled a computer hacking network that targeted unprotected personal computers around the world.
Police raided several homes across Quebec on Wednesday and arrested 16 people in their investigation, which they say uncovered the largest hacking scam in Canadian history.
The hackers collaborated online to attack and take control of as many as one million computers around the world that were not equipped with anti-virus software or firewalls, said provincial police captain Frederick Gaudreau.
"That way, they were able to introduce some Trojans or worms in those computers, and that way they were able to take control of the computers from abroad," he said at a Montreal news conference on Wednesday.
The majority of computers attacked by the network were in Poland and Brazil, but some PCs in Manitoba and the United States were also hacked, he said.
Several government computers were also compromised, but investigators will not say in which country.
The computers were used to set up fake websites that solicited users to click on them and provide personal information, Gaudreau said.
Police won't reveal what the information was used for but investigators estimate that the network profited by as much as $45 million.
The 14 suspects arrested Wednesday are between the ages of 17 and 26, and face charges related to the unauthorized use of computers.