Online banking customers in France have lost over E1 million from their accounts over the last 11 months, after Russian thieves infected computers with so-called 'sleeper bugs', according to a report in the UK press.

The report from The Guardian newspaper explained that ‘sleeper-bugs’ are computer viruses that lie dormant in emails or on websites until the user accessed their bank account online. Once activated the bugs are able to read passwords and bank codes and communicate them to the thieves. One customer lost E40, 000 in one hit.

Police were made aware of the scam after one banking customer reported a large sum of money missing from their account. Since then, a dozen Russian thieves and a group of potential Ukranian plotters have reportedly been arrested.