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SECURITY > Cybersecurity

Editorial: Build defenses against cyber-attacks through public-private cooperation

  • March 18, 2019
  • , The Japan News , 8:16 p.m.
  • English Press

The Yomiuri Shimbun


It is necessary to protect social and economic systems from serious cyber-attack threats. The government must expedite arrangements to do so.


Central government offices, local governments and private firms are exposed to severe attacks in cyberspace.


In 2017, a type of malware called ransomware spread across the world, causing hospitals, railway companies, banks and big businesses in Japan to suffer damage such as temporary suspension of their operations. Cyber-attacks on Japanese government organizations amount to 7 million a year.


The government will shortly establish a cybersecurity council consisting of government offices, local governments and critical infrastructure operators, including power utilities, railway firms and airport operators. This is the first attempt to share cyber-attack information widely between the public and private sectors.


Confidentiality agreements will be imposed on the participants to make it easier for firms that have suffered cyber-attacks to reveal the methods used. This will lead to preventing similar cyber-attacks from expanding and causing damage.


The planned panel will also look at establishing a system in which the government or a business detects cyber-attacks and sends alerts instantly so that information can be shared. It is highly significant that a diverse range of organizations cooperate with each other and take appropriate steps.


The National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity, which serves as a control center, must take the lead in working out countermeasures by providing firms with the knowledge and information obtained through information exchanges with Western countries.


Work with allies


The internet of things (IoT), which connects a diverse range of devices to the internet, has spread to such an extent that care must be taken to guard against familiar devices being exploited for information theft.


From fiscal 2019, the government will revise the contract process for procurement of information and communications equipment to take national security into account. The revision is aimed at eliminating the devices of Chinese manufacturers suspected to be involved in illicit practices.


The government plans to encourage important infrastructure operators not to use parts produced by companies about which there are security concerns. If communications and financial functions are paralyzed due to cyber-attacks, the impact will be immeasurable. The government’s envisioned measure can be considered reasonable in this regard.


Japan will host big events this year and next: the summit meeting of the Group of 20 major economies in June, the Rugby World Cup from September, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020. The relevant organizations must cooperate with each other to ensure smooth management of these events.


Strengthening the information and communications network of the Self-Defense Forces is also a task to be tackled urgently. It is necessary to prepare an environment in which Japan will be able to cooperate with its ally the United States in cyberspace as well, while making efforts to foster specialists and ensure their recruitment.


The Defense Ministry has sent its officials to the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Estonia. Japan should play a proactive role in formulating international rules for cyberspace.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 18, 2019)

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