A US security firm has declared that China-based hackers have effected illegal entry to the computers of oil companies in the US, Taiwan, Kazakhstan and elsewhere. The report, released on Thursday by McAfee, says hackers purloined sensitive information concerning bidding, operations, and finance for oil fields. No companies were named.
Attacks commenced in 2009. Experts rate China as the hub of internet crime, including sophisticated industrial espionage against major companies.
China’s government has denied involvement, but a cyber-attack on the British Foreign Office was recently attributed to it. An email received by three personnel claimed to relate to an upcoming visit to the region, and appeared utterly innocent, but a document was attached which contained computer code that would have adversely affected any machine that opened it. Systems identified the threat. Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was the work of “a hostile state intelligence agency,” which intelligence sources say is China.