Two cyber-attacks have recently struck the Japanese government, the Chief Cabinet Secretary acknowledged Wednesday. Media reports allege that the problem originated from China, since one of the hacked computers was forcibly linked to the mainland.
The network at the Japanese House of Representatives was compromised Tuesday, when the computers of three Representatives were infected by viruses and had passwords stolen, a government press release said.
Chief Secretary Osamu Fujimura announced that the networks at several of Japan’s overseas embassies had also been attacked and stated, “Dealing with cyber-attacks has become an important subject of national security and risk management.”
The media reports suspect that the attack was by hackers from China using a Trojan-style worm.
The newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun wrote on Oct. 26 that 10 of Japan’s embassies and consulates in 9 countries across Asia and North America have been receiving huge amounts of virus-contaminated emails since June. There is no evidence so far that the virus infection has allowed hackers to obtain any diplomatic secrets.
Investigation of the House attack found that the infected computers and the network server had been intruded unlawfully multiple times. An emergency meeting held on the same day decided to establish a task force. The meeting also urged representatives, secretaries, and staff members, in all a total of 2,700 people, to change their passwords and to stop opening emails sent from unknown sources.
The newspaper Asahi Shimbun said that a representative’s computer had been infected and executed programs sent from China which subsequently attacked the main server and other computers on the network.
The report said the representative received an email in late July containing a malware attachment disguised as a graphics document. When the representative opened the attachment, his computer was immediately infected.
Apparently, the hacker intended to retrieve confidential documents related to diplomacy and national defense.
The story also alleges that the hacker had unrestricted access to the representative’s emails and files on the Trojan-infected computer for at least one month.
The case is currently under investigation by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corporation. Experts said the malware is a virus developed specifically for stealing computer passwords.
Read the original Chinese article.