Chinese hackers eavesdropped on the computers of five European foreign ministries before last September's G20 Summit, which was dominated by the Syrian crisis.
Research by computer security firm FireEye claims that hackers infiltrated the ministries' computer networks by sending emails to staff containing tainted files with titles such as "US_military_options_in_Syria".
For about a week in late August, FireEye said its researchers were able to monitor the "inner workings" of the main computer server used by the hackers.
It lost access to the hackers after they moved to another server shortly before the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. FireEye believes the hackers were preparing to start stealing data, although it did not actually see them do it.
The hackers' targets were all members of the European Union and the theme of the attacks was US military intervention in Syria.
FireEye researcher Nart Villeneuve, one of six researchers who prepared the report, said: "That seems to indicate something more than intellectual property theft...The intent was to target those involved with the G20."
We would have wondered how the Chinese got a foot in the door with the Americans, British, Russians and Spinola's choo choo all spying at the same time.