14 Feb 2011

Chinese hackers target Western companies

According to an internet security company, Chinese hackers recently targeted five large Western oil and gas companies.

Although Chinese analysts dismissed the allegations, the security company said the hackers gained access to the companies’ computer systems through their websites or virus-infected emails. The five companies were not named in the report, due to prior agreements with the security firm to repair the vulnerabilities.

The cyber attack has been named “Night Dragon,” and reportedly stole gigabytes of highly sensitive documents, which included bidding plans, project financing and critical proprietary information. The security company has contacted the FBI about the attacks, and the bureau is reportedly looking into the matter.

"Internet activities are becoming increasingly complicated and untraceable, as it is easy for hackers to hide their real identities by diverting their real IP addresses," said Li Wei, a security expert with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

The trace of hacks came back to China through a server-leasing company in the Shandong Province, and to Beijing IP addresses. According to Chinese Foreign Ministry, China has been accused unfairly, because many companies in China are also victims of hacking activities.