RCMP have arrested a Canadian woman on charges of installing a virus on the computers of people in Canada and abroad and viewing the victims using their webcams. The hacker also allegedly communicated with some of her victims and caused alarm by opening extreme pornography on their computers.

The suspect is a 27-year-old woman, Valerie Gignac, who was arrested by RCMP at her home in Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, Quebec Wednesday morning.

The woman is believed to be at the root of a botnet, a network of computers infected with a virus and controlled remotely. The suspect allegedly used malicious remote-access software to control infected computers and spy on their victims via their webcams.

According to initial reports, the alleged hacker took malicious pleasure in listening to private conversations. She also communicated with victims through the speakers of the infected computers, according to the reports, as well as causing them alarm by using their computers to open webpages showing extreme pornography.

The alleged attacker broadcast her exploits on YouTube, investigators say. They discovered several videos where you see a remote hacker take control of infected computers and scare victims.

Gignac is also the owner of an online hacking forum with 35,000 worldwide users, according to reports. The forum, which was hosted in Canada, has been seized by authorities.

The victims, including some minors, include Canadians as well as people of other nations.

The arrest was conducted by investigators from the RCMP’s Integrated Technological Crime Unit. The operation took place with the assistance of the Sûreté du Québec, Quebec’s provincial police force.

The suspect was scheduled to appear Wednesday afternoon at the Joliette courthouse to deal with unauthorized use of a computer and charges of mischief in relation to data under Canada’s Criminal Code.

By James Haleavy