TORONTO - Computer security company McAfee has issued a report detailing a five-year hacking scheme that targeted countries, companies and numerous organizations.
McAfee says there were more than 70 intrusions from the same source over the past five years, including four in Canada. Forty-nine of the targets were in the United States.
The earliest, in July 2008, targeted an unidentified Canadian information technology company for four months, then the Montreal-based World Anti-Doping Agency was infiltrated for 14 months in August 2009.
McAfee says two unidentified Canadian government agencies were targeted, the first in October 2009 for six months and the second in January 2010 for one month.
It says the governments of the U.S., Taiwan, India, South Korea and Vietnam were also on the target list, along with the IOC, the United Nations and an array of companies. The Washington Post reported that among the targets were U.S. defence companies and the U.S. Department of Energy.
One expert cited by the paper felt that the attacks likely originated in China citing attacks on the IOC in the months leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and targets in Taiwan and the U.S.
The report author, Dmitri Alperovitch, says most victims have long since addressed the infections and the report is meant to reinforce the fact that anyone can fall prey to intrusions.
McAfee has dubbed the scheme Operation Shady RAT, with RAT being a common acronym in the computer industry meaning Remote Access Tool.
With files from the Huffington Post Canada
A report indicates that the United Nations and a number of related bodies were among the targets of a massive hacking ring that ran for five years and hit targets in more than a dozen countries. The operation has been dubbed Shady RAT (Remote Access Tool) by McAfee. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
The International Olympic Committee, the governing body of the Olympic Games, was targeted in the months leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The report says the attacks on the IOC indicate a likely state actor mainly because "there is likely no commercial benefit to be earned from such hacks." (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Military contractors were among some of the hardest hit. The report said that 13 contractors were targeted. Electronics and high tech firms were also affected. (PASCAL PAVANI/AFP/Getty Images)
The U.S. government at the federal, state and county levels were affected. In all, 49 of the more than 70 targets were in the U.S. "What we have witnessed over the past five to six years has been nothing short of a historically unprecedented transfer of wealth." State and trade secrets were likely stolen by the hackers. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Canadian government departments were also hit by the hacking ring. The report did not cite which parts of the Canadian government were affected (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)
Construction and heavy industries in South Korea and the U.S. were also targets. (PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Experts interviewed by the Washington Post said that China was the likely culprit behind the attacks. The targets were based in countries such as the U.S., Taiwan, Vietnam and Korea, potential rivals for Beijing. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images)