World renowned antivirus software provider Symantec Corp. has said that a sophisticated hacking campaign that was launched from China has allowed for the penetration of security systems in telecommunication companies, defense contractors and satellite companies located in the US and Southeast Asia. Targeting the satellites that assist in the communications facilities of large-scale global networks, in an era that is ever more reliant on greater bandwidth for Internet services and data transfer, the company said that it appeared as if this round of hacks was part of a national agenda of espionage by the Chinese, allegedly put in place to intercept civilian and military communications from around the world. However, the company maintained that it was not in any way laying the blame on the Chinese government, stating only that the attacks were launched from three computers located within China, a scenario made possible by hackers who wished to make it appear as if the Chinese government were directly behind these attacks.
The company said that it had shared these findings with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security, however neither body was available for immediate comment. Symantec, as security researchers, pointed out that while the exact nature of what was gained in terms of possibly intercepted communications was not apparent as of yet, the potential for the hacked satellites to be controlled, so as to alter their positions in the orbits that they are currently tasked with maintaining could be grounds for severe disruptions if the hackers wished.
In a statement to Reuters, the company said that the threats were removed after having been detected.