Hackers have infiltrated over 150 computers in the French finance ministry in an attempt to steal documents relating to the country’s presidency of the G20 Summit in February, according to reports.
In another indication of the growing cyber threat to sovereign nations, hackers also tried to attack other ministries.
Although members of the ANSSI (National Security Agency for Information Systems) have been working on the case for months, the full extent of the attacks may still not be known.
Pailloux Patrick, executive director of ANSSI, told Paris Match, which first broke the story, that “this is the first attack against the French state and of this magnitude at this scale”.
The attacks apparently began around December 2010, and arrived in the form of email attachments loaded with Trojan malware.
Most of the 150 officials targeted worked on the G20 summit, and the Canadian finance ministry, which hosted the G20 before France, was also hacked in a similar way at the same time.
Although there is no firm evidence yet, some commentators have implicated China in the attack, given that a key point on the G20 summit agenda was trade imbalances – an important topic for China, which was accused of deliberately undervaluing its yuan currency.