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SOCIETY > Crime

Virtual currency theft cases triple in Japan in Jan.-June

  • September 20, 2018
  • , Jiji Press , 2:20 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Sept. 20 (Jiji Press) — The number of virtual currency theft cases through hacking in Japan more than tripled from a year before to 158 in January-June, National Police Agency data showed Thursday.

Financial damage in the theft cases totaled 60.5 billion yen, including the 58-billion-yen loss from major cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc. in January, according to the data.

“Cyberspace threats are still serious,” National Public Safety Commission Chairman Hachiro Okonogi told a press conference.

He promised to take steps to improve the abilities of agency personnel to deal with the issue and facilitate international and public-private cooperation further. Relevant instructions will be given to police across the country, he added.

In the first half of 2018, bitcoin was involved in 94 cases, ripple in 42 cases and ethereum in 14 case.

The main hacking method was illegal access to individual accounts using login information obtained from user computers through viruses.

In 102 of the 158 cases, victims used the same identification codes and passwords as those for other online services.

The NPA is calling for setting different IDs and passwords for different services and using extra authentication methods including smartphone-based ones.

Meanwhile, so-called targeted email attack cases, in which virus-embedded emails are sent to companies and others to steal important information, numbered 2,578, the second highest on record on a half-year basis after the July-December 2017 figure of 5,438.

The number of bank transfer scam cases targeting online banking customers stood at 211, with the damage totaling about 370 million yen.

Bank transfer scams are declining in recent years thanks to countermeasures including stronger surveillance by financial institutions and the promotion of the use of one-time passwords.

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