A salesman who works for a Chinese server provider that security vendor McAfee said provided hackers with the crucial infrastructure to steal gigabytes of data from foreign energy companies denies being involved with the attacks, and says the company is taking steps to thwart further hacking attempts.
"I had no idea this was going on," said Song Zhiyue, a salesman for a Chinese company that rents out servers. "It wasn't until I got the phone calls and read about it online that I found out about it."
McAfee declined to publicly name the server provider, but the company profile provided by the security vendor matches the details of the company, whose name can be translated as Science and Technoloy Internet, that Song works for.
In a report last week, McAfee said that a hacking attack originating from China had targeted at least five oil, gas and petrochemical companies. McAfee said that many actors participated in the attack. But the report added that an individual located in Shandong province's Heze city provided the crucial command and control infrastructure for the hackers.
Song said he did not know whether hackers were using his servers, adding that currently there was no way to check. The company will begin adding security to the servers, Song said, although he did not specify what exact measures would be implemented.
"We are worried about the hackers," he said. "This is illegal and we won't accept it."
A news report from the Associated Press quoted Song as saying that his company served a "great number of hackers" and that several hundred of them were his customers. When asked about this, Song maintained that he did not know whether hackers renting the servers.
McAfee said in its report, "Although we don't believe this individual is the mastermind behind these attacks, it is likely this person is aware or has information that can help identify at least some of the individuals, groups or organizations responsible for these intrusions."
McAfee, however, added that it has only circumstantial evidence to name the originators of the attacks.
China's Foreign Ministry did not respond to questions about the alleged hacking attacks.