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Large series of cyber attacks uncovered

3 August 2011 | Category: Software

The security company McAfee has uncovered the largest series of cyber-attacks in history, revealing that hackers infiltrated 72 world organizations, including the United Nations.

McAfee discovered the intrusions that marked a five-year hacking campaign targeting the governments of the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam and India. The International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency were also among the victimized organizations.

The security company said that it believed a single "state actor" was responsible for the attacks, though it declined to name it. A security expert briefed on the situation, however, revealed that evidence pointed to China.

In a 14-page report released by McAfee, vice president of threat research Dmitri Alperovitch wrote, "Even we were surprised by the enormous diversity of the victim organizations and were taken aback by the audacity of the perpetrators."

Hackers broke into the computer of the secretariat of the UN in 2008, masking their presence for two years while gaining access to secret data. The report from McAfee went on to say that what the hackers used the data for is still largely unknown, but its use could pose a major economic threat.

McAfee has notified all 72 victims of the attacks around the world, and law enforcement agencies will continue to investigate the crimes.

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