A worldwide hacking network has broken into computers operated by 72 organisations around the world over the past five years, according to Intel-owned security outfit McAfee.
Victims of the attacks include the governments of Canada, India, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States and Vietnam, the outfit said. It reckons attacks on other bodies have been conducted by the name group of hackers, which it claims is a nation state and not some hacktivist group like Anonymous or LulzSec.
According to McAfee, the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency have all been targeted in attacks that date back to 2006, although the campaign may have begun before then, the insecurity outfit warns.
McAfee Vice President of Threat Research Dmitri Alperovitch reckons: "This is the biggest transfer of wealth in terms of intellectual property in history," Alperovitch said. "The scale at which this is occurring is really, really frightening."
He added: "If you look at an industry and think about what is most valuable in terms of intellectual property, that is what they were going after."
Apparently. Mcafee stumbled across a command and control server in 2009, while investigating attacks against defense contractors. The outfit kept an eye on the server and dubbed its doings Operation Shady RAT (remote access tool).
While McAfee won't confrim that it blames China for the operation, it does.