Security firm: Hackers hit chemical companies

BEIJING (AP) ? A U.S. computer security firm says cyber attacks traced to China targeted at least 48 chemical and military-related companies in an attempt to steal technical secrets.

Symantec Corp. said Tuesday the attacks occurred between late July and September and used e-mails sent to companies to plant programs in their computers to gather information “for competitive advantage.”

It did not identify any of the targets but said they included companies involved in developing chemical compounds and advanced materials used for military vehicles.

Symantec said the same attackers were involved in previous cyber attacks this year on human rights groups and auto companies.