Tokyo, March 4 (Jiji Press)–The number of cybercrime cases in Japan on which police took action grew by 356 from the previous year to a record 9,875 in 2020, a National Police Agency survey showed Thursday.
They included ransomware cases, in which hackers sent virus-containing emails to companies, infected their computers with the viruses and encrypted data in the computers, and then demanded ransom for restoring the data. Some hackers also demanded money by threatening to put up stolen data on the internet in the so-called double extortion scheme.
“The situation over threats in cyberspace is very serious,” an NPA official said.
The number of ransomware-related consultations received by police between April and September stood at 23 in 10 prefectures, including on a cyberattack that hit gaming company Capcom Co. <9697>. Nine of them were on double extortion cases.
The actual situation may be worse than what the figures suggest because many companies are believed to have opted not to make an announcement although they fell prey to cyberattacks.
High-profile cases last year included hacks of NTT Docomo Inc.’s electronic payment service that led to money being illegally withdrawn from bank accounts.
There were 1,734 cases of fraudulent money transfers via online banking services, in which a total of 1,133 million yen was stolen.
The number of social media bullying cases stood at 22. In one famous case, a man was referred to prosecutors for bullying online a reality show celebrity, who died in an apparent suicide.
The number of consultations on cybercrimes linked to the novel coronavirus came to 887. In about half of the cases, people ordered face masks, but they were not delivered.
Personal information, such as credit card data, was stolen in 103 cases, including those related to coronavirus-related cash benefits.