Industrial espionage

American chemical and defense companies have fallen victim to industrial espionage at the hands of a hacker in China, according to a new report from the tech security firm Symantec.

The report details how a hacker in China used malware delivered via email to infiltrate the systems of at least 45 defense and chemical companies and then stole sensitive data like design drawings and manufacturing details. The targeted malware was sent to hundreds of defense and chemical company employees, and when activated, allowed the hacker remote access to computers and their data.

Analysts have long warned of escalating attacks like this from China, where hackers appear to have been testing and perfecting scam emails for several years. The emails, which encourage recipients to open their attachments, are increasingly sophisticated and targeted.