Cyber-Attacks On Japanese Municipalities Over Social Security Number

  • Our Bureau
  • 10:11 AM, September 22, 2015
  • 2181

Over a 100 Japanese municipalities have suffered Cyber-attacks originating overseas for information leaks even as the nation prepares for a new ‘My Number’ national data management system.

The cyber-attacks on municipalities’ servers spread over 44 regions faced assaults that originated mostly overseas that include China, Russia, North America, Afghanistan, Puerto Rico and the Netherlands.

Only seven of the local governments were able to block the hacking, according to a tally obtained by Kyodo News which contacted local governments in August and September through questionnaires and other means.

Japan is preparing for the ‘my number’ national data management system come January. Data relating to residents’ email addresses were copied, websites were either altered or computer servers hacked into and broken down by maliciously sending a bulk of emails to them. The servers were also used for sending emails after hacking, Japan Times reported Tuesday.

The local governments face daunting task of enhancing protection against online attacks amid dearth of manpower and financial resources.

The new data management system is expected to provide an identification number assigned to every resident and hopes to simplify administrative procedures for taxation and social security. Strong concerns remain among the public over how secure the information will be.

Such cyber-attacks started gaining frequency around 2000, and municipalities are increasingly being targeted for information leaks.

Nineteen percent of the municipalities said their systems for managing personal information are connected to the Internet.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has urged local governments to separate such systems from the Internet, they often lack staff with enough expertise and a shortage of funds.

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