By Taichi Kobayashi
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (TMPD) is beefing up its investigation capabilities to better counter cyberattacks, including the establishment of a center to counter cyberattacks in April. It aims to update its organization to augment defense against cyber threats targeting Japanese public offices and corporations by the time the Olympic and Paralympic Games are held in 2020
The new center will be an expansion of the existing cyberattack special investigation task force within the general administration division of the Public Security Bureau, staffed with roughly 100 personnel. The Public Security Bureau councilor will be appointed as the director of the center while the Public Security Bureau director will act as the associate director.
The center will aim to prevent damage by maintaining close cooperation with private firms and security-related institutions as well as plan cybersecurity drills and investigate cyberattacks. While the cyberattack special investigation task force was founded within TMPD in 2013, this is the first time for a task force of this nature to be converted into an independent unit.
Furthermore, the cybersecurity countermeasures headquarters set up last year to gather intelligence will also be expanded, adding 20 more staff for a team of 70 in total.
In addition, related cross divisional organizations such as the cyber crime countermeasure division of the Community Safety Bureau and the investigation support center, will be housed in the same building from April 2018 help them share information and respond in the event of a large-scale cyber incident. Investigators with special computer and language skills have been appointed to liaison with external parties to identify the origins of cyber threats.
According to the Public Security Bureau, while there were 493 phishing e-mail attacks in 2013, 1,951 attacks were recorded in the first six months of 2016. “Cyber threats in the virtual world are increasing. It is necessary to be ready to gather information and respond swiftly,” warned Superintendent General Yushiyuki Okita of TMPD at a meeting of police chiefs on March 6.