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Cabinet control center to counter cyber attacks

  • 2015-01-02 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: January 1, 2015 – p. 21)

The government is swiftly rolling out measures to counter cyber attacks. A new Cabinet control center called the Cyber Security Strategic Headquarters will be established on January 9. Yasuhiko Taniwaki (54), the deputy chief of the National Information Security Center (NISC), is rushing to prepare for the center’s establishment.


“(The control center) is tasked with advising ministries and agencies that have not taken countermeasures yet,” said Taniwaki who has successfully expedited the process to set up the control center.


Cyber attacks are crimes that destroy information systems or disable the functions of government’s or public infrastructure, in addition to altering data, by taking advantage of the Internet. At the end of last year, a U.S. movie studio sustained a cyber attack that resulted in a confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea. The incident demonstrated to Japan the threat of cyber attacks by foreign countries and the necessity to cooperate with the U.S.


The number of attacks against government organizations is increasing year by year, which has become a concern in view of the Tokyo Olympics set for 2020. Rintaro Kawai (43), the president of the Japanese subsidiary of a Russian information security firm that was responsible for preventing cyber attacks during the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics estimates: “There were more than 1,000 attacks during the Sochi Olympics. There will be at least three times as many attacks during the Tokyo Olympics.” In order to prevent the damage from expanding, swift information sharing between the government and the private sector will be crucial.


A joint cybersecurity drill was conducted by the government, electric utilities, and financial companies on December 8, 2014 in an office building in Tokyo. The event had the highest ever number of participants at 348 people from 94 organizations, which was 60% more than last year.


The government is also making efforts to recruit more experts. Japan’s greatest weakness is its lack of sufficient security specialists. The NISC is small group of about 80 personnel. Even after setting up the Cyber Security Strategic Headquarters, the number of personnel will be far less than the 3,000 who reportedly work at the organization’s U.S. counterpart. Beginning in FY2015, the government will hire “white hackers” with advanced skills as personnel or researchers for limited periods. The government plans to make all-out efforts to combat cyber attacks.

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