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SECURITY > Cybersecurity

Protections on free Wi-Fi inadequate, MIC poll

  • January 26, 2018
  • , Yomiuri , p. 2
  • JMH Translation

According to a poll conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), some 45% of local governments do not encrypt the content of communications sent via Wi-Fi, a wireless public LAN through which people can connect to the Internet free of charge. If content is not encrypted, there is a higher risk that passwords and other information can be intercepted by outside parties. MIC is moving forward with fortifying safety measures with an eye toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics when an increase in users is anticipated.

 

According to the MIC poll, some 45% of the 572 local governments nationwide are offering Wi-Fi without encrypting message content. This is also true of 69% of the nation’s 13 airports and of 29% of the 66 lodging facilities [operated by local governments].

 

Some 31% of local governments and 52% of lodging facilities reported that they “have not updated” the security programs on their Wi-Fi equipment.

 

If data is not encrypted, the chances are higher that log-in IDs, passwords, and other information needed to use Internet services can be skimmed by a malicious third party, when, for example, people shop online on their smartphone or other device.

 

In light of these poll results, MIC will revise by this summer its manual on Wi-Fi security measures and clarify what kinds of measures users and facilities should take. Moreover, MIC will support the development of smartphone apps that can select secure Wi-Fi.

 

According to MIC, every year more and more people are using public Wi-Fi with the increase in foreign nationals visiting Japan, and users are expected to rise from about 43 million in fiscal 2016 to about 64 million in fiscal 2020.

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