Police in Dijon, France have detained 22 youths suspected of being members of a domestic network of hackers.
According to the French daily Le Monde, sixteen of the alleged hackers are minors, and at least one is reported to be 14 years-old. The oldest detained was 25 years-old. They were apprehended yesterday near Paris and across southern and central France.
The suspects are thought to have broken into the websites of thirty four businesses based in France, Russia and Iceland, "with the will to create damage," according to the prosecutor Jean-Pierre Alacchi.
According to police, the dragnet began when the suspects were spotted appearing to challenge one another in online forums over their exploits.
The alleged hackers will be tried at the beginning of June. If convicted, they face up to two years in prison and a €30,000 fine for simple intrusion, and up to five years in prison and a larger fine if convicted of destroying company data.
French authorities said the arrests emphasize the vulnerabilities of small businesses who don't take sufficient precautions with their computer networks. ®