Japan under cyber attack. The cyber threat China

Pierluigi Paganini January 22, 2012

The events of recent days from the closure of the Megaupload web site to the heavy offensive of the Anonymous group have distracted media attention from important cyber operations, in my opinion of military matrix, against Japan.

Last week several Cyber attacks have been conducted against Japan institutions and corporates, the National Security of Japan has been also attcked. The first attack in the time line, in what is considerable as a real escalation, was conducted against the Japanese parliament from China according to official sources.

For the attack has been used a server located in China from which have been observed several attacks to the Japanese Lower House.   The intruders were able to have access to email and confidential documents of the room and this has made ​​necessary an extraordinary meeting of the executive to respond to that considered a real emergency. The number of cyber incidents is growing and despite the government’s attention on cyber defense you can not halt the offensive. During the attacks the servers of Japanese lower house lawmakers have been hit causing the theft of many credentials.

Japan has tried out the management of earthquake damage in 2011 and the subsequent nuclear accident in Fukushima. To confirm that the attacks are in fact military operations are the other objectives targeted. Documents on military aircraft and nuclear power plants seems have been stolen in a series of cyberattacks on Japanese defence contractor Mitsubishi Heavy.  On more than one occasion, observed attacks have hit the company always with the intent to steal valuable information, the company denies any possible theft, but history has shown that often the reality is quite different.  Mitsubishi Heavy declared in fact that last month that 83 computers at 11 of its facilities had been hit by cyberattacks but no leakage of information on products and technologies had been confirmed, that is a clear demonstration of a targeted strategy.

By analyzing the attacks some reflections are mandatory:

  • Behind every cyber operation is often present the Beijing government that is among the main actors in the field of cyber offense. As previously mentioned the cyber aggressive strategy of China is a serious threat to any nation. As always we have to accept the interference of this country for economic reasons, do not forget that China itself is an indispensable business opportunity in a time of a global economic crisis. China itself is also in fact the owner, through the ownership of more or less hidden, of the major Western brands. All this raises serious questions about the real willingness and capacity of key nations to want to punish the Asian country. Until we are willing to accept this?
  • Private companies can hardly defend itself from similar offensives, the war is uneven. The first cyber power, capable of destroying any opponent, against private companies in serious difficulties because of the difficult economy situation. These companies are the most vulnerable members of the security chain and therefore a favorite target for information gathering operations of hostile governments. Unfortunately, these companies tend to consider security as a cost with obvious consequences.

If there will not be a change in the policies of major governments on the above points we will can find having to deal with very dangerous situations and politically difficult to manage.

Pierluigi Paganini



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