Brazilian police arrested 18 Internet hackers on Wednesday in a massive effort to dismantle a gang operating across four northern states, authorities said.

The operation, dubbed "Trojan Horse" and involving 205 officers, targeted a gang that stole more than $10 million last year by breaking into banks and clients' computers, federal police said in a statement.

Police said the gang had created Internet sites and programs capable of uncovering the passwords of clients who transferred money on the Web.

Once the gang obtained the passwords, funds were stolen electronically from accounts and transferred to other bank accounts held in the names of third parties.

Armed with 33 search warrants, federal police descended on the gang early Wednesday, their efforts spanning from Para state in the Amazon to the central state of Goias.

Brazil is seen as a country with large and growing activity by Internet hackers, partly helped by vague legislation on such crimes in Brazil.

Source: CNET News

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