In preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the government will establish in FY2017 an institute to train cyber-defense specialists that will protect against cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as power plants. The government’s principal aim is to prevent large-scale power outages during the Olympics as well as the leakage of highly classified information, like design plans of power generation facilities. The administration intends to incorporate funds for trainers and for drafting a curriculum into the second supplementary draft budget for FY2016, a government official revealed on Aug. 21.
The tentative name of the institute is the “System-wide Industrial Cybersecurity Promotion Center.” The government will establish the institute in Tokyo, and plans to have about 100 trainees participate in the program every year. The administration will invite former hackers as instructors and build mock power plants and gas plants. Trainees will be divided into two groups – offense and defense teams – to learn cyber-defense skills for one year through exercises that simulate actual attack conditions. The government is also considering future joint exercises with specialists from the U.S., and other “leaders in cyber-defense.” The Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA), an independent administrative agency that studies cyber-defense, will manage the training institute.
Electric power companies have two networks: 1) one is a system that connects companies with the head office through an external network; 2) the other is the “control system,” an independent network that controls various equipment at power generation facilities. The training intended under the new project is aimed at responding to cyberattacks against the control system. According to the government, this is the first time for the administration to establish such a robust program for training cyber-defense specialists.
Since contact between the control system and external networks is limited, unlawful infiltration into the system has been considered difficult. However, if an intrusion into the system took place and damaged the critical infrastructure, it would have a devastating impact on the entire country. In light of an incident in December 2015, in which a major blackout occurred in Ukraine following cyberattacks against the power grid, the government has concluded that the establishment of a training institute is an urgent need.