Following last month’s cyber attacks on 200 Japanese companies, including the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), some Japanese local governments and TV stations have also been hit by cyber attacks in recent days, and the hackers behind them all point to the Chinese Communist military.
Recently, several Japanese media reiterated that from 2016 to 2017, “Tick”, a hacker group instructed by the Chinese Communist Party’s “61419” unit, launched large-scale cyber attacks on nearly 200 Japanese companies and research institutions. In April, the Japanese Police Department filed a lawsuit against a Chinese man. The man, a member of the Chinese Communist Party, is suspected of participating in the hacking operation under the guise of renting a server.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato revealed on April 20 that a Chinese systems engineer used a fake name to register to access a rented server to launch cyber attacks; another Chinese exchange student with ties to the Communist Party’s military was also investigated. But both have left Japan.
Japanese media cited sources familiar with the matter as saying that recent cyber attacks on departments including local governments such as Gifu Prefecture and television stations located in Osaka.
Japan formulates anti-communist cybersecurity strategy
According to Kyodo News, the Japanese government held a meeting on cybersecurity strategy on May 13. The meeting proposed an outline of a “cybersecurity strategy” for the next three years to address cyber attacks suspected to be linked to the Chinese Communist Party, Russia and North Korea. Japan plans to improve its defense and deterrence against cyber attacks in the diplomatic and security fields, and further strengthen international cooperation.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary and Chief of Cybersecurity Strategy Katsuharu Kato said he hopes participants will hold concrete discussions on identifying and cultivating human resources and strengthening institutions to comprehensively address cyber threats.
The report revealed that the 2019 Japan-U.S. Foreign Affairs and Defense Cabinet Consultations have included cyber attacks in the application of Article V of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. This element was mentioned in this meeting.
Extended reading: China’s Communist Party steps up cyberattacks on the U.S.
Earlier this month, a malicious cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline, the largest oil pipeline in the United States, forced it to shut down for several days, causing oil shortages in several states. The U.S. government is addressing the potential impact of such cyber attacks, and the White House has signed an executive order to that effect.
On May 14, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cybersecurity Policy Mieke Eoyang told a House Armed Services Committee hearing on cybersecurity that the Chinese Communist Party is a threat to the U.S. Department of Defense, including in the area of cyber operations.
Eoyang revealed that the Biden administration is reviewing the National Security Strategy Report and the U.S. National Cybersecurity Strategy to comprehensively upgrade the U.S. defense system’s offensive and defensive levels in the cyber domain.
For several months, the United States has continued to suffer major cyber attacks. Last December, the media revealed that Chinese hackers had conducted a nine-month-long cyber attack on the U.S. State Department, Defense Department, Office of the President and Treasury Department, as well as 18,000 public and private institutions around the world through the SolarWinds software since March of last year.
In March, the Hafnium hacking group, based in China, exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft’s email system to conduct theft attacks against tens of thousands of U.S. organizations.
On April 20, the U.S. cybersecurity firm FireEye released a report alleging that hacking groups suspected of being supported by the Chinese Communist government used popular network devices to spy on dozens of government, defense industry and financial sectors in the United States and Europe for months.