Security firm McAfee say they have uncovered a massive cyber attack, which has hit 72 organisations. McAfee say that a single ‘state actor’ has initiated the intrusions.
A Reuters report said “one security expert who has been briefed on the hacking said the evidence points to China.”
The list of targets is long, with governments of the U.S., Taiwan, India, South Korea, Canada, Vietnam, United Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), The International Olympic Committee (IOC), The World Anti Doping Agency and a large number of companies, including some in the high tech and defense industries.
These attacks are said to have been carried out across a span of five years, starting in 2006. McAfee have said that the hackers have infiltrated the computer system of the UN Secretariat in Geneva three years ago and were hiding unknown for two years while examining confidential data.
Dmitri Alperovitch, the vice president of the security companies threat research said “This is the biggest transfer of wealth in terms of intellectual property in history. The scale at which this is occurring is really, really frightening. Even we were surprised by the enormous diversity of the victim organizations and were taken aback by the audacity of the perpetrators.
“What is happening to all this data … is still largely an open question. However, if even a fraction of it is used to build better competing products or beat a competitor at a key negotiation (due to having stolen the other team’s playbook), the loss represents a massive economic threat.”
He closed with “Companies and government agencies are getting raped and pillaged every day. They are losing economic advantage and national secrets to unscrupulous competitors.”
McAfee have notified all the victims and are liasing with local law enforcement agencies.