Investigators led by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and aided by Facebook, have foiled an alleged international criminal ring that infected 11 million computers around the world.
The FBI, working with the world's largest social network and several international law enforcement agencies,
arrested 10 people it says infected computers with "Yahos" malicious software, then stole credit card, bank and other personal information.
The ring is said to have caused more than $850m in losses in one of the largest cybercrime hauls in history.
The bureau said the 10 people arrested came from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the UK and the US, and that it had executed numerous search warrants and conducted a raft of interviews.
Facebook's security team assisted the FBI after Yahos targeted its users from 2010 to October 2012, the US federal
agency said in a statement on its website.
According to the FBI, which worked also with the US justice department, the accused hackers employed the
Botnets are networks of compromised computers that can be used in a variety of cyberattacks on personal computers.
Although losses associated with the cyberthefts are estimated at $850m, hard data is tough to come by.
Experts say cybercrime is on the rise around the world as PC and mobile computing become more prevalent, and as more and more financial transactions shift online.
The continuing increase leaves law enforcement agencies, cybersecurity professionals and targeted corporations increasingly hard-pressed to spot and ward off attacks.