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Tuesday, 3rd January 2012
In General Japan News,

Japan develops new cyber weapon for war against hackers

The Japanese Ministry of Defence is in the process of creating software which will enable it to observe cyber attacks and defend against them.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper, the three-year $2.3 million (£1.5 million) project was outsourced to Japanese technology firm Fujitsu.

If reports are correct, the new software will allow the Defence Ministry to watch hacking attempts before rooting them back to the source and disabling them, as well as any computers which helped spread the virus after being infected by the malware.

The so-called "seek and destroy" cyber weapon is the latest battle in the fight against online attacks, with Japan coming under sustained attack from hackers in 2011.

Last year the Japanese government was reportedly the victim of a cyber attack by Chinese hackers, while private sector organisations in Japan have also been targeted.

It is thought that hackers in China are attempting to steal military and trade secrets.

Earlier in 2011 the Japanese technology firm Sony saw its PlayStation 3 user network breached by hackers who stole large amounts of customers' data, forcing the company to shut down its servers while it resolved the problem and improved security.

In September, Mitsubishi was the victim of an organised Trojan attack that sought to steal confidential information from the Japanese company.

However, EMEA director of security research at Trend Micro, Rik Ferguson, believes that the development could be used to reduce the threat of digital espionage.

Speaking to V3, he said: "I haven't heard of anyone working on automated software designed to search and destroy like this.

"Certainly in the UK it would be illegal. You can't access or modify any computer that doesn't belong to you without permission."

As a result, the Japanese government may have to consider legislative changes to make the cyber weapon legal.

According to the Register, the tool is currently being trialled in a "closed network environment" and is apparently most efficient in terms of locating the root of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, a common method employed by hackers to shut down a website or a company's servers.


Written by Susan Ballion