NEW YORK — A new cyberattack on an oil company could cause billions of dollars in damage, and it’s the work of one company.
The attack has already caused significant damage to the oil company’s computer systems and caused thousands of jobs to go to limbo, including some with hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, according to the company and several analysts.
A group of Chinese hackers have targeted Exxon Mobil Corp., according to an ABC News report Thursday.
It was the latest in a string of cyberattacks that have targeted oil companies and other industries in recent years, including oil and gas drilling companies and U.S. energy companies.
Exxon said in a statement that the hack was the result of “an ongoing cyberattack.”
The attacks have left Exxon with billions of potential dollars in unpaid bills and forced the company to take costly actions, including shutting down operations, halting its production, cutting back on its workforce and halting the production of some products.
In a letter to Exxon shareholders, the company said it is aware of the attacks, but has not detected any impact to the Company’s financial position or operations.
The company’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, has said the company has done everything it can to mitigate the impact.
Tillerson has called the attack a “wake-up call” and said it underscores the importance of having a robust cybersecurity posture in the energy sector.
He said the oil industry has been “working on these issues” for more than a decade and “are now ready to face a cyberattack of this magnitude.”
The attack is being investigated by the U.K.’s Serious Organized Crime Agency and the National Cyber Security Centre.
A company spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A U.N. panel investigating the attacks said in November that it would “continue to monitor and report on cyber incidents that are clearly threatening the stability of the global energy system.”
The U. S. State Department said it will send a team to monitor the attacks.
A statement from Exxon said it “will continue to review the attack and is working with the company, the industry, and others to help mitigate the potential for damage.”
A spokesman for the oil and chemical giant said in an emailed statement that Exxon is “actively cooperating with the U.”
and its allies to address these threats and “to help prevent similar cyber attacks in the future.”
The company did not identify the hackers.
A spokeswoman for the National Security Agency said Thursday that it has been investigating the latest cyberattack and that it is “committed to working with industry and other organizations to find and prevent attacks in order to protect our critical infrastructure.”
The NSA declined to say how long it had been working with Exxon.
An Exxon spokeswoman, Kate Taylor, did not respond to ABC News’ request for additional information.