Chinese Hackers Hit Oil Giants

'Night Dragon' hackers stole vast amounts of sensitive info

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 10, 2011 4:21 AM CST
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(Newser) – Chinese hackers successfully broke into the systems of at least five Western energy multinationals in a "coordinated, covert and targeted" espionage campaign, according to a report by cybersecurity firm McAfee. The hackers had access to the oil firms' networks for years and made off with gigabytes of sensitive information including bidding documents and proprietary information about oil and gas field operations, according to McAfee, which labeled the attacks "Night Dragon."

The hacking appears to have been an organized campaign focused purely on spying instead of sabotage, but it's not clear who was behind it, according to McAfee's vice president of threat research. The attack was "potentially directed either by the private sector or the public sector," he tells the Wall Street Journal. "It's impossible for me to know for sure which one." Law enforcement agencies have launched an investigation based on McAfee's info.

The stolen information iis tremendously sensitive and would be worth a huge amount of money to competitors, a McAfee exec says.
The stolen information "iis tremendously sensitive and would be worth a huge amount of money to competitors," a McAfee exec says.   (Getty Images)
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These people seemed to be more like company worker bees rather than free-spirited computer hackers. - Dmitri Alperovitch,
McAfee’s vice president
for threat research

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