A computer seized by US authorities has been found to contain stolen files from around 2,300 UK computers.
E-mail addresses, passwords, credit card numbers and information relating to on-line transactions have been recovered.
The Metropolitan Police Computer Crime Unit in London is investigating the hacked data recovered from the computer.
The police said, “We believe the data has been stolen by the use of a backdoor computer virus, and it is believed more than 2,300 compromised computers in the UK consisting of 83,000 files have been targeted.”
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The Met is working with international law enforcement agencies to investigate a global virus infection as it believes many thousands of other computer users around the world could be affected.
Officers are in the process of notifying UK victims of the online attack. Internet service providers, banks and other on-line services are also being alerted, the police said.
Police are contacting the victims via e-mail, who are being asked to contact detectives by phone to discuss the issue.
Those affected will receive an e-mail from the “met.police.uk” domain. The police say they have the e-mail details of all those affected.
However, there are fears fraudsters may jump on the bandwagon and attempt to use the publicity over the investigation to try to garner other users’ personal details with their own e-mail scam.