Chinese industrial spies broke into a host of energy companies
in a coordinated attack that researchers at McAfee
have identified and dubbed "Night Dragon" (which is not a sequel to 'The Last Dragon'). The hackers stole proprietary information, including bidding plans for oil and gas field exploration contracts from five multi-national companies that McAfee was able to identify but declined to name. The security firm said as many as seven other companies, which it could not identify, may also have been affected. The hackers have had continuous access to the systems for at least two years, harvesting valuable corporate data that could potentially be worth large sums of money to those companies' competitors. Access was obtained either directly through company websites, or via malware-laden e-mails sent to company executives. McAfee tracked the malware that was passing data back to the hackers to a server farm in the Shandong Province in China.
Corporate espionage is a serious problem in China, where the practice is not only alarmingly common, but occasionally appears to be state sponsored, as was the case with attacks on Google in January 2010