McAfee claims that it has uncovered one of the largest cyber attacks ever.
More than 70 government agencies and corporations have had data extracted over a period of five years. International organisations have been infiltrated ranging from the UN to the International Olympic committee.
According to Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee’s vice president of threat research the evidence points to “a nation state” being the culprit.
“Even we were taken aback by the audacity of the perpetrators” Alperovitch.
At the moment China is highest in the list of suspects. Beijing however have denied involvement calling all accusations “groundless.” Earlier this year Google also pointed the finger at China when some of their source code went missing.
Jim Lewis, a cyber expert with the centre for strategic and international studies was quoted by the Reuters news agency as stating that it was “very likely China was behind the campaign due to some of the targets being of particular interest to Beijing.”
Furthermore Raj Samani, McAfee’s Chief European Technology Officer has already said to the BBC that he suspects the attacks to be still going on “This is a whole different level to the ‘Night Dragon’ attacks that occurred earlier this year. Those were attacks on a specific sector. This one is very, very broad.”
As many companies have been distracted by the very public attacks of groups such as LulzSec and Anonymous there have been secret attacks going on, conducted by an unknown. Graham Cluley, a security expert with Sophos told the BBC, “sometimes it’s not about stealing your money or publicly leaking your data. It’s about quietly stealing your information, which can have a very high political, military or financial value.”
Although the intent of the hackers is unclear, what is clear is that they have been able to make off with valuable data and this story will intensify the US government’s push to fortify its cyber security.