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updated 12/12/2012 2:51:11 PM ET 2012-12-12T19:51:11

With Facebook's help, the FBI arrested 10 suspects around the world in connection with a botnet-based crime ring responsible for the theft of more than $850 million.

If true, the huge theft is one of the largest in Internet history. Criminals pulled off the crime by enlisting unwitting computers into its botnet in order to send malicious emails and fraudulently obtain credit card, bank account and additional identifiable information.

Botnets are comprised of many linked "zombie" computers harnessed by a malicious user for their computing power. Once enlisted, criminals use botnets to initiate denial-of-service attacks or to send spam and phishing emails.

From 2010 until this October, Facebook users were targeted with Yahos malware delivered via the Butterfly botnet.

"Facebook’s security team provided assistance to law enforcement throughout the investigation by helping to identify the root cause, the perpetrators, and those affected by the malware," the FBI said in a statement.

Arrests were made in Bosnia, Croatia, Herzegovina, Macedonia, Peru, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.

It remains unclear what Facebook's involvement in this investigation looked like. The social network has not responded to media requests for comment on the matter.

Follow Ben on Twitter@benkwx.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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