Chinese hackers allegedly attacked business partners of BHP in efforts to uncover information about its since failed $38 billion takeover bid of Potash Corp.
Canada's state broadcaster CBC cited a security forensics professional who claimed a large cohort of hackers exclusively targeted data on the deal held by prominent law firms representing BHP and Potash.
While the breaches were successful, the companies said there was no evidence data was stolen.
Canadian security firm Digital Wyzdom which investigated the attacks against some of the victim organisations said hackers were coordinated and had sought only information on the BHP deal.
The company's president, Daniel Tobok, said the breach was launched using malicious payloads contained in phishing attacks which purported to be sent from Potash.
The takeover bid was later squashed by the Canadian Government.
Months after the attack, Canadian Government agencies including the Finance Department and Treasury Board reported that their systems were breached.
Internet access to the agencies had remained cut for a year to prevent further losses.
China, one of the largest consumers of Potash, reportedly opposed the Australian takeover bid although the Government had denied links to the attacks.