Chinese hackers were there for 9 months. The Japanese had no idea

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A group of hackers from China stole confidential data from Japan for 9 months. The country’s cybersecurity agency was unaware that criminals were seizing confidential documents.

A group of hackers linked to the Middle Kingdom have been stealing data from the Japanese cybersecurity center for many months. This is another case where the Land of the Rising Sun seems almost helpless in the face of further attacks by its neighbor.

Chinese hackers stole data from Japan

The first hack into the network of Japan’s National Incident Preparedness and Strategy Center for Cybersecurity (NISC) was supposed to have taken place in the fall of last year. After that, the hackers remained undetected for months until irregularities in the system were discovered in June 2023, three anonymous sources told the Financial Times.

“Given the style of this attack and the target, we can say with almost certainty that hackers acting on behalf of a specific state were behind the attack. This country was most likely China, says one of the FT’s interlocutors.

Criminals working on behalf of Beijing had access to NISC systems and files for almost nine months. As announced by the agency itself, this includes: about the leak of confidential e-mails that also contain classified files. The source of the attack was a breach of email security of one of the employees.

Japan is helpless in matters of cybersecurity

Recently, a number of cybersecurity incidents in the Japanese government structures have seriously undermined the faith in Japanese experts and the trust that its allies have in the country. This problematic issue has already been raised by, among others: security experts representing the governments of the United States and Great Britain.

The government in Tokyo aims to, among other things, to joint military projects with their allies, e.g. the joint creation of a new military aircraft together with the British and Italians. However, this requires the exchange of top-secret technical plans for the machine, which simply cannot be leaked to China or Russia.

There are also many indications that Japan’s mediocre performance in terms of cybersecurity will not improve any time soon. There is simply a lack of properly educated experts and IT specialists in the country. Currently, there are only about 900 of them, while China’s hacker forces are estimated at at least 30,000 people.

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