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2014年8月26日 (火)

サイバー対策 政府の防護態勢強化が急務だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Govt must urgently beef up measures to protect nation from cyber-attacks
サイバー対策 政府の防護態勢強化が急務だ

The number of cyber-attacks directed at government organizations has been increasing at an alarming rate. In some cases, information related to such fields as space development has been stolen.

The government must do everything it can do to strengthen protection measures against cyberattacks.

According to an annual report the government released last month, there were 5.08 million cases of illegal access to government organizations’ computer networks in fiscal 2013. This figure is five times the level in the previous fiscal year.

A majority of the cases are considered to be cyber-attacks aimed at stealing important government information. Many are believed to have come from abroad, from places such as China.

During the period from August to September last year, many advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks were made on central government bodies including the ministries of finance; foreign affairs; economy, trade and industry; and the agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Such attacks plant computer viruses on specific websites, and infect the networks of targeted organizations only when the organizations’ staff browse the tainted websites.

APT attacks have also been spreading to include independent administrative institutions, or government-affiliated research institutes, especially those relating to space exploration and nuclear power studies. This is a profoundly serious situation.

In 2011, the United States defined the cybersphere as the “fifth battlefield,” in addition to land, air, sea and space, and said it would not rule out the option of retaliatory strikes in the event of a serious cyber-attack. Washington views cyber-attacks as a grave problem affecting national security.

Enact cyber-attack law promptly

In May this year, the U.S. Justice Department indicted five Chinese military officers on charges of hacking U.S. companies’ computers to steal trade secrets.

The Japanese government set a goal of bolstering its ability to counter cyber-attacks in December last year as part of national security strategy, but there can be no denying that this nation lags in tackling the problem.

The Information Security Policy Council (ISPC) chaired by the chief cabinet secretary is currently the key government body in handling cyber-attacks.

But even when government ministries and agencies are subject to cyber-attacks, ISPC is not empowered to demand relevant information from them.

As a result, investigations into the causes of cyber-attacks are not conducted promptly.

It is extremely important to strengthen the ISPC’s powers.

The government plans to upgrade the ISPC to a “cybersecurity strategy headquarters” as early as fiscal 2015.

The planned headquarters will be able to force ministries and agencies to provide relevant information if attacked.

These steps have been incorporated into a cyber-attack countermeasures bill that was jointly submitted to the latest ordinary Diet session by the ruling coalition parties of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito, as well as the Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties.

The envisioned legislation should be enacted swiftly in the forthcoming extraordinary session of the legislature this autumn.

Cyber-attacks targeted at companies that are vitally important to the nation’s economic activities, such as those in the financial and power generation sectors, have also been surging.

Japan is highly likely to be a target for cyber-attacks in the years leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, which have drawn attention from around the world.

It is vital for the public and private sector to work together to prepare to combat security breaches, by addressing such tasks as developing the currently insufficient human resources for information security.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 25, 2014)


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