By Daniel Hunter

Cyber criminals have stolen an estimated $1 billion (£648m) from up to 100 banks and financial institutions, according to cyber security firms Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky said the "unprecedented cyber robbery" started in 2013 and is still active, accusing a criminal gang with members from Russia, China and Ukraine.

Interpol and Europol has been working with Kaspersky to investigate the robberies, which have occurred in 30 countries including Russia, US, Germany, China, Ukraine and Canada.

"These attacks again underline the fact that criminals will exploit any vulnerability in any system," said Sanjay Virmani, director of Interpol's digital crime centre.

Kaspersky described the gang's method as a new stage of cyber crime where "malicious users steal money directly from banks and avoid targeting end users".

The security said the gang, which has been named "Carbanak", uses computer viruses to infect networks like video surveillance to watch staff's computer screens.

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