A number of well known international firms responsible for oil and gas exploration have come under attack from a collective of Chinese hackers who infiltrated security systems in a bid to steal sensitive financial information.
In a report by anti-virus experts McAfee, the hackers – nicknamed 'Night Dragon' – were thought to have broken into the systems of as many as eleven different high profile firms over the last couple of years.
Speaking to Reuters news, McAfee's viec president for threat research – Dmitri Alperovitch – explained:
“These were not sophisticated attacks...yet they were very successful in achieving their goals.”
Alperovitch explained that information that because the information was “tremendously sensitive and would be worth a huge amount of money to competitors,” hackers would have been compelled to run ongoing attacks.
Despite the attacks being relatively unsophisticated, investigators are still trying to ascertain how hackers obtained access to the documents; whether it was via virus-infected emails or access to company computer networks.
Investigators have, however, linked the attacks to China due IP address tracking and tracing server activity although the identity of the hackers is still unknown.
Growing number of cyber security threatsCyber threats from China have experienced something of a spike in recent months with high profile cases such as the much publicised attacks on Google.
The threat of future attacks shows no sign of abating either as cases of cyber warfare become increasingly common, as cyber expert Jim Lewis explained to Reuters:
“This is normal business practice in China, It's not always state sponsored. And they do it to each other.”
Information security experts across the globe are continuing to urge business owners of firms of any size to seriously reconsider their security presence in the light of recent attacks; especially companies where sensitive information could be commercially valuable to competitors.