The battle to defend Japan against cyberattacks is expected to intensify. Up until now, hackers have mainly been focusing on vulnerable companies and individuals overseas, but Japan is now expected to become the next target of more ingenious methods of cyberattack. The U.S. has led countermeasures against cyberattacks in the world by conducting realistic training exercises. In this way, the country has often been able to detect problems and minimize damage in the early stages. Japanese companies and local governments that are lagging behind in the field of cyber-defense are now being forced to implement more sophisticated measures.
The number of cyberattacks detected by the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology (NICT) surged after 2013. In 2015, the number was 210,000, up by 85% from the previous year. To hackers working overseas, the Japanese language used to be an obstacle. But since translation software is readily available nowadays, emails containing computer viruses written in Japanese are becoming increasingly common.
Even if companies are able to detect suspicious activity on their computer networks, the damage will spread if they don’t take immediate action. When it was discovered that information was leaked from the Japan Pension Service in June 2015, it took several months for the organization to shut down its network after it became aware of suspicious communications.
If the core systems of electric utilities or financial institutions are attacked, it could affect the everyday lives of the public. Recently, technology and defense-related information owned by corporations have increasingly been targeted by hackers with more powerful cyberattack capabilities.