Hackers gained access last month to computers belonging to current and former employees at nearly two dozen major natural gas producers, including Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Cheniere Energy (NYSE:LNG) and Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI), Bloomberg reports.
The attacks targeted suppliers and exporters of liquefied natural gas and were the first stage in an effort to infiltrate the sector, according to Gene Yoo, top executive at Resecurity Inc., which discovered the operation.
The motive of the operation is not known, but the timing coincides with broader changes in the energy industry that have been accelerated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine; Yoo tells Bloomberg that he believes the attack was carried out by Russian state-sponsored hackers.
It is not clear whether the attacks are directly related to the attack on Ukraine, but Resecurity said the hacks began about two weeks before the invasion, according to Bloomberg.
At an investor conference last week, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth said cyberattacks were the biggest risk facing the company.
Cheniere Energy said earlier that it signed an EPC contract with Bechtel to begin early site work at the Corpus Christi Stage 3 Project.