Japan is about to enter the brave new world of modern cybersecurity. The threats are coming, ready or not, especially -- but not exclusively -- from China and North Korea. The question is, how ready will Japan be when the next big wave of hackers hits?
If the recent scandal involving hackers raiding the email of executives at Sony's US affiliate proves anything, it's that poor or lax cybersecurity is not only dangerous and costly, but can be highly embarrassing.
It's a lesson that Japan needs to take to heart. Back in 2000, the government drew up a Special Action Plan that recognised the growing cyberthreat, especially for an advanced technological society that depends heavily on the free and efficient flow of information over the Net, as well as the electronic storage of valuable, even critical, data.
Yet over the next decade, the number of cyberattacks worldwide skyrocketed as Japan's government and business communities looked all too vulnerable. In 2012, cyberattacks passed the 1 million mark, including attacks on the Japanese Diet and a nuclear power research institute. In April 2013 the major targets included Sony, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Yahoo Japan. In the latter case, some 20 million user names and passwords were dumped into a file ready for remote download before technicians blocked the theft.
In 2014, the number of attacks passed the 25 billion mark, with 40 per cent traceable back to China.