In the attacks, senior level executives received e-mails that contained embedded links that when clicked on downloaded spyware to computers, The Christian Science Monitor reported Monday. The spyware was custom-made and undetectable by antivirus software, according to the report. The publication conducted a five-month investigation into the attacks.
The companies--Marathon Oil, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips--were informed by the FBI that valuable information was targeted including "bid data" on the quantity, value, and location of oil discoveries around the world, and messages and e-mail passwords were exposed, the report said.
For more on this story, read "Report unearths targeted attacks on oil firms " on CNET News.