Night Dragon Cyber Attacks Hit Oil Firms

Hackers have repeatedly broken into networks belonging to at least five oil and gas companies over a number of years, a report released by anti-virus firm McAfee has revealed.

In what it has dubbed as the 'Night Dragon' attacks, McAfee said that hackers used a number of con tricks, vulnerabilities and weak security controls to gain access to mainframes belonging to major oil and gas companies and steal secrets.

McAfee said it had identified tools, techniques and network activities that suggest the attacks originated in China.

Greg Day, director of security strategy at McAfee, said in a statement to BBC News: “What makes this different is the very specific ongoing targeting of specific organisations with a very distinct purpose to what they were trying to achieve.”

McAfee said that the attacks were not sophisticated in nature, but were nonetheless effective.

According to the company, at least a dozen multinational oil and gas companies were attacked in November 2009, but only five of them have confirmed that incidents.