Sites raided in search for software pirates

A number of Australian sites were raided early Wednesday morning as part of a global sweep for software pirates.

Seven local search warrants were executed as part of "Operation Buccaneer" - an international investigation conducted by US Customs to stamp out networks of software pirates, or 'warez' communities.

According to a spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police, which assisted US Customs with the local raids, it is believed that a key member of one of the warez syndicates being targeted was based in Australia. However, while raids in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide are yet to result in any arrests, four individuals have been arrested in simultaneous raids launched in the US, England, Finland and Norway.

According to Robert Bonner, US Customs commissioner, this latest operation, which is the result of fifteen months of covert investigation, has been the largest of its kind to date.

"Operation Buccaneer is the largest and most extensive investigation of its kind," he said. "This investigation underscores the severity and scope of a multibillion-dollar software swindle over the Internet, as well as the vulnerabilities of this technology to outside attack."

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