UK broadsheet The Guardian reports that Russian thieves have stolen more than EUR1m (£680,000) from personal bank accounts in France by using rogue Trojan viruses to infect the computers of banking customers.
According to the report, one bank customer lost €40,000 in a single hit.
The Trojan is embedded in e-mails or Web sites and remains dormant until the user contacts their bank online. When that happens, the bug becomes active and records passwords and bank codes which are then forwarded to the thieves.
A dozen Russian criminals, described by police as being typically aged between 20 and 30, and several Ukrainian masterminds of the scam have been arrested in Moscow and St Petersburg.
The authorities were alerted in November 2004, when a bank customer noticed a large sum missing from his account. This was followed by other reports of theft all over France. In 11 months, the thieves had stolen €1m, says The Guardian.