20/05/2014 07:50 BST | Updated 20/05/2014 07:59 BST

Blackshades Arrests See 97 People Across The World Detained Over Webcam Spy Scam

Nearly 100 people from 16 different countries have been arrested for a malware scam that allowed hackers to spy on people via the unsuspecting users own webcam.

Half a million computers are said to have been affected by the 'Blackshades Remote Access Tool' since 2010.

Some of those arrested are accused of taking sexually explicit pictures of their victims. Seventeen men were arrested in the UK.

Koen Hermans, a Netherlands official in Eurojust, the European Union's criminal investigation coordination unit, said: "This case is a strong reminder that no one is safe while using the Internet.

"It should serve as a warning and deterrent to those involved in the manufacture and use of this software."

The malware, known as 'RAT' by its users has generated $350,000. One of its developers, a 24-year-old Swedish man is one of those arrested.

The software proved popular in the murky underworld of the internet as it is relatively cheap, typically selling for only £23.

The software infects computers usually when a user has clicked on a malicious link.

As well as taking photos, BlackShades can also be used to encrypt a user's data and held for a ransom.

The worldwide operation, co-ordinated by the FBI involved over 300 properties around the globe and led to the seizure of over 1,000 data storage units.