The French Ministry of Finance has confirmed a report in a French Magazine on Monday that a widespread hack of computers on its networks occurred.
The hack, of over 150 MOF machines has been traced to computers in China and appears to have targeted documents that outline France and the G20’s economic planning documents, including those addressing the issue of global trade imbalances.
The news was reported first in Paris Match Magazine (Attention: l’article est rédigé en français!) France is currently serving as the Chair of the G20 and has made tackling global trade imbalances a top priority.
Paris Match quoted French Budget Minister Francois Baroin saying that the attack was “spectacular” and involved “a number of messages,” suggesting the attack may have involved phishing e-mail messages, possibly containing malicious files.
The computers affected by the attack have been cleaned and French authorities say they are investigating the incident and have leads on its origins.
The attack, if true, would be just the latest incident of high-profile hacks targeted at high profile government agencies and private firms. The so-called Aurora attacks, which occurred in late 2009, are believed to have compromised the networks of U.S. government agencies, as well as defense contractors, financial services firms and high tech firms, including Google, Adobe and others. Information released with the publication of U.S. diplomatic cables by Wikileaks suggest that the U.S. government believes that hackers backed by the Chinese government were responsible for the attack. French authorities say that, while the trail in the latest attack leads back to servers in China, that it is too early to ascribe blame for the attack to the Chinese government.