Police have raided homes and shops in South Australian and Western Australia for teenagers exploited by a hacker group.
The raids came as police investigated the use of social media in the cyber attack, which has left more than 700 Australians without electricity and more than 300 others without water.
A senior police officer said the teenagers exploited social media to spread “unethical behaviour” and recruit other teens to join their cyber gang.
Police say the teenagers were “lone wolves” and they were motivated by the desire to spread their message of exploitation, which included the exploitation of teenage girls and young women.
“The majority of these teenagers are very vulnerable and need to be protected,” Senior Constable Matthew Fenton said.
This group of young people were the ones who exploited social networks and the cyber gangs to recruit other people, he said.
“They were the individuals that were recruiting and grooming other young people to join them and to spread the message.”
Inspector Fenton says the teenagers had been involved in a “network of people” which used the internet to recruit others.
He said police were investigating whether the hackers targeted children as young as 12.
While most of the teenagers arrested were believed to be in their early teens, Detective Superintendent Chris Taylor said it was believed others were in their late teens or early 20s.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
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