Feeds

China fingered for Coca Cola hack - report

Several big name multinationals kept quiet about breaches

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Suspected Chinese hackers launched damaging cyber raids on several big name multi-nationals over the past few years, including Coca Cola, according to new reports.

Fizzy drink giant Coca Cola, British energy company BG Group, Luxembourg-based steel maker ArcelorMittal and Chesapeake Energy were all named by Bloomberg as having been breached but deciding not to reveal the news at the time.

Coca Cola’s computer systems were infiltrated thanks to an email sent to then the deputy president of Coca-Cola’s Pacific Group, Paul Etchells.

Appearing to come from the CEO, it actually contained a malicious link which, when Etchell clicked, began downloading malware including a keylogger, the report said.

Hackers spent around a month rooting around inside Coca Cola’s systems, said Bloomberg, citing an internal company document detailing the cyber intrusion. The document is said to attribute the attack to state-sponsored attackers as the culprits.

The attack was launched in 2009 with the aim of exfiltrating files relating to Coca Cola’s ultimately unsuccessful $US2.4bn acquisition of China Huiyuan Juice Group. China’s Ministry of Commerce eventually rejected the deal after raising competition concerns.

Although the report claimed state-sponsored actors were involved, experts interviewed by the news wire said the attack had all the hallmarks of Comment – a prolific Chinese hacking group.

Comment was also fingered for a 2011 attack on US gas giant Chesapeake Energy, by hacking the computers of its partner Jeffries Group. Chesapeake was apparently in dialogue at the time with a Chinese energy company about joint shale gas investments.

Comment was also accused of hacking ArcelorMittal, searching for a file named “China” on a senior exec's computer and pinching a whole load of PowerPoint slides.

BG Group was hacked in 2011 in a breach said to have been massive – including geological maps and drilling records – but like all the others, unreported at the time.

The incidents, if they took place, highlight the risks to multinational firms with business interests in China. Experts increasingly warn about such risks, with IP theft said to be prevalent.

Google took the rare step of going public after it uncovered the China-based Operation Aurora attacks on it and other firms in 2010. Since then, covert APT-style targeted attacks believed to originate in China have often hit the headlines. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.