A specialized team of French police dubbed has destroyed a virus know as, Retadup, that infected more than 850,000 computers worldwide.
The network of infected computers, known as a botnet, was controlled from France and is thought to have made millions of euros from fraud.
After a tip-off, the French team located and dismantled the pirate server in the Paris region.
Then they succeeded in disinfecting the computers around the globe.
France’s C3N digital crime-fighting centre was alerted in the spring by anti-virus company Avast to the possible existence of a private server that had apparently sent a virus called Retadup to hundreds of thousands of Windows-operating computers, in over 100 countries but mainly in Central and South America.
The virus was sent via an email offering easy money or erotic pictures and through infected USB drives, officials explained.
Hackers had then been able to use the virus to control the computers remotely without owners realising, to create the cryptocurrency Monero, extort money through “ransomware” and even steal data from hospitals in Israel as well as Israeli patients.
The operators behind the botnet are thought to have made millions of euros since they set it up in 2016 and are still on the run.