Hackers have hit more than ten important Norwegian businesses, with industrial secrets, blueprints and contract negotiations stolen from gas, oil and defence firms.
The announcement was made by the Nasjonal Sikkerhetsmyndighet (NSM), Norway's National Security Agency, which said that the hackers gained entry to these businesses by sending virus laden emails to specific individuals at the firms.The emails were designed to look like official correspondence, often involving ongoing negotiations - a technique known as 'spear phishing.'
Once the viruses had taken hold, they allowed the hackers to steal passwords, usernames, industrial drawings, contract details and industrial negotiation documents. Early estimations by the NSM put this attack at the feet of just one group, though for now they're not able to say who.
"This is the first time Norway has revealed extensive and wide computer espionage attacks," they said.
BBC News reports that the NSM are asking any other firms that haven't come forward yet to do so. It has, howeer, opined that it was likely many other companies didn't even know they'd been hit. So far the only reports the agency has had came from users who informed their IT staff of bizarre goings-on, who in turn passed the information on to the agency. Anti-malware software is said to have had no effect in blocking the hacks.