A Chinese group may be responsible for approximately 150 cyberattacks, many of which were targeting U.S. industrial sites, particularly those involved in information technology, transportation, energy, aerospace and telecom, reports National Public Radio (NPR).

The NPR report said that the purpose of the attacks was to steal intellectual property to help Chinese businesses. News reports were prompted by a report issued this morning by the U.S. computer security firm, Mandiant.

That report described the group as "one of the most persistent of China's cyber threat actors" and it included more than 3,000 computer indicators that businesses' IT security departments can refer to for signs of cyberattack activity.

The Mandiant report states that once the hackers have established access, they periodically revisit the victim's network over several months or years
and steal broad categories of intellectual property, including technology blueprints, proprietary manufacturing processes, test results, business plans, pricing documents, partnership agreements, and emails and contact lists from victim organizations' leadership.

Last week, President Barack Obama signed an executive order seeking better protection from cyberattacks, saying the country's enemies are "seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems," Reuters reported.