At least three US oil giants were hit by cyberattacks aimed at stealing secrets, in the months before the high-profile Operation Aurora attacks against Google, Adobe et al in December. Targeted attacks against Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil took place in 2008 and followed the same pattern as the later Aurora …
Not necessarily based in china
Anyone who has ever tried to complain about a hack attempt or SPAM from Chinese address space knows very well that there is no point to even try. Any communication goes into the bitbucket and is ignored as a matter of principle. There are providers there which run bulletproof hosting as a service and do not give a damn about what we think.
So if one wants to host the attack platform on a network where the netblock owner is known not cooperate with tracing it to the real origin China is one of the prime choices. That is where RBN went after it was pushed from everywhere else. That is where other ROKSO members went for similar reasons.
So the fact that it has been traced to China so far does not mean anything regarding where the attack has come from. It may have come from a competitor across the street, it may have come from one very well known large petrol and gas exporting country which has a vested interest in knowing its competitor's reserves, it may have come from anywhere.
Could well be true - with the added bonus that the Chinese Govt would get the blame. (Please note, this isn't to say it wasn't the Chinese, but there is no concrete evidence either way). It's all getting a bit Gibsonesque out there.
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