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Japan latest target in suspected cyber-espionage attack

The Japanese parliament is the latest victim of cyber-espionage. As with other such attacks, suspicion again is being pointed towards China.

Computers in the lower house of parliament were breached from a server based in China, it was recently discovered. Passwords and other information could have been compromised in the attacks said a report from Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

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Of additional concern was the fact that the attack began in July but it was at least a month before the breach was noticed and reported to security.

Member of the house and Japanese government spokesperson Osamu Fujimara said that he had been unaware of the matter but that the government of Japan was investigating it.

Asahi, however, refuted this saying that it had learnt that officials of the lower house had informed members of the house to change their network IDs and passwords over fears that security had been breached.

The particulars of this attack according to the Japanese paper were that politicians’ computers and a lower house server contracted a Trojan horse virus containing a programme that allowed a China-based server to steal passwords and other information.

Whilst China is being identified as a possible suspect, it cannot be said for certain that it was, as it was not clear who was behind the attack reported Asahi. Even though the server was based in China, it could have been controlled from a third country.

Fujimura said in a regular press briefing that the government was checking the facts of the reported issue and that “if criminal acts are confirmed, police will strictly deal with it”.

Earlier this year, Google, in a blog post announced having discovered a “campaign to collect user passwords” aimed at the Gmail accounts of “senior US government officials, Chinese political activists, officials in several Asian countries (predominantly South Korea), military personnel, and journalists” implying that China was the guilty party.

China vehemently denied these charges, saying “Blaming these misdeeds on China is unacceptable” and that, “hacking is an international problem and China is also a victim.”

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