Claims have it that a group of Russian hackers known as Energetic Bear are systematically targeting hundreds of Western energy companies with malware that could disrupt power supplies.
Industrial espionage appears to be the driving force says one private cybersecurity firm, but the software also allows the hackers to seize control of control systems from afar.
The attacks have affected more than 1,000 organisations in more than 84 countries, according to researchers at CrowdStrike, a California-based company and were first discovered in August 2012.
Majority of the victims were located in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Poland.”
It is understood the hackers cover their tracks by using advanced encryption techniques.
The campaign is similar to alleged cyberwarfare attacks mounted by the US and Israel that used a virus called Stuxnet to damage the Iranian nuclear industry in July 2010.