France's files on the G20 meetings were the target of a cyber attack, the country's finance minister has confirmed.
The mailboxes of about 150 people working at the last G20, the annual meeting of the world's top 20 most powerful countries which was hosted in Paris in February, were hacked in December. An unnamed official told Paris Match that a certain amount of the data was then redirected to China.
"The military are taking care of it," said the country's budget minister Francois Baroin said in a radio interview. "There's a lead, although it's impossible to confirm it for the time being,"
Rik Ferguson, senior advisor at security firm Trend Micro, says such attacks are on the increase. "From a security perspective it's interesting to note that if an attacker is determined enough and has enough resources, they will almost always get through."
Part of the problem is that enterprises and organisations make too much private information publically available, he says.
"Multiple mail boxes were targeted that had something to do with the G20, so the attacker had to gain knowledge from somewhere," he said. "We won't know what they were after until we know exactly what they got access to. But I imagine it will be something to do with gaining intellectual property for commercial advantage."
"The actors were determined professionals and organised," Patrick Pailloux, director general of the French National Agency for IT Security told Paris Match.
"It is the first attack of this size and scale against the French state."