France hit by cyberattack with G20 focus

Large sustained cyberattack against French government, ongoing since December, forces the French finance ministry to shut down 10,000 computers.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

The French finance ministry revealed today that it has been the victim of a major and sustained cyberattack.

The attack, which has been ongoing since December, seems to be the work of hackers looking for documents related to the G20 political group, which brings together 20 major nations tasked with stablizing the global economy and which is being led by France this year, according to AFP News.

With over 150 computers in the ministry reported to have been compromised, the ministry has so far been forced to shut down 10,000 computers, said a report in Paris Match magazine (Google Translate English version). And though the specific source of the attack hasn't yet been narrowed, down, an official told Paris Match that some of the hacked information was redirected to sites in China.

The finance ministry has filed an official complaint with the French courts, while the French secret service has started investigating the case, added AFP.

Holding their most recent summit in Paris last month, the G20 nations set an array of goals and compromises designed to stave off future financial crises. But China proved difficult in negotations over exchange rates, currency reserves, and surpluses, according to the BBC, which said that the U.S. and other nations have accused the country of purposely keeping down the value of its yuan as a way to hang onto a competitive edge in its exports.

The attack on France follows a cyberattack against the Canadian government in January that also was reportedly traced back to China. Last summer, Canada hosted the G-20 summit in Toronto.