RCMP investigators allege woman owns online hacking forum with 35,000 users worldwide
27 year old Valérie Gignac is facing criminal charges for allegedly taking over people’s computers remotely, spying on them through their web cameras and also harassing them through their computer speakers.
The Quebec based hacker from Saint-Alphonse-de-Rodriguez, appeared in court today and was charged with four counts related to the unauthorized use of a computer and mischief in relation to computer data.
According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Gignac used botnets to distribute malicious software and infect her victims computers. Once infected, these botnets then took over her victims PCs and turned them into zombies. RCMP says that Gignac also used malware to hack into their PCS and spy on them through their own web cameras.
Police also say Gignac eavesdropped on private conversations, communicated with victims through their computer speakers and logged onto extreme pornography websites.
“She spoke with them, she interacted with them. She showed them some pornography on the screen just to see how they would react,” said Const. Philippe Gravel of the RCMP’s integrated technological crime unit.
RCMP investigations show that many of Gignac’s victims were children from Canada and abroad. She apparently used her hacking forum to bait victims. Gignac is the owner of an online hacking forum that has 35,000 users worldwide.
Meanwhile, appearing for Gignac, her lawyer, Michel Leclerc, said his client wasn’t trying to scam people to make money and the hacking and spying were just a bad joke, “It’s just a bad prank,” he said.
Gignac was released on bail Wednesday afternoon, on the condition that she will not use a computer or have access to the internet. Her next hearing is scheduled to take place in June 2015.