Once Bitten, Twice Shy – Japan Boosts Cyber Security For 2020 Olympics

Japan recently organized a drill to strengthen the national security for the 2020 Olympics. The administration invited hackers and asked them to attack various government and corporate websites in order to find security flaws. The Japanese government is following the British, who invited ethical hackers to test their computers before the 2012 London Olympics. In the exercise, there were several phishing and malware attacks on a fake government website.


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Now that the World Cup has come and gone, there is another major event getting ready to grab the attention of sports lovers – the Olympics.

While Brazil prepares for the 2016 Olympics, Japan is taking early measures to make sure that the 2020 Tokyo event is completely safe and secure in every way.

Japan has always been popular for its technological edge, and is already preparing for the Tokyo event. Although Japan has always excelled in IT, it is far behind the others when it comes to cyber security. Japan has recently seen several cyber attacks, including the recent attack to steal users’ banking details. The attack injected a malware in several adult websites and attempted to steal the banking data of users.

Preparations for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Aware of the possible cyber attacks, the authorities have held the cyber security drill to make sure that their systems are secure. The London Olympics website faced over 200 million attacks during 2012. To make sure this doesn’t happen in 2020, the Japanese government is already making moves to improve the security of their online operations. They are also planning to set up a cyber security police council in 2015 to minimize the possibility of an attack.

The Japanese government officials admit that Japan does not have strong cyber security laws. However, they have started preparing for the event, taking all the cyber security details into consideration. The drill was held in March this year, and the government included many agencies in the drill. White-hat hackers were invited and hired to take part in the event and penetrate into the government networks.

Japanese cyber security is handled by four agencies, including the police department. Tokyo is planning to increase the communication and coordination among all these agencies to improve the overall security.

During a meeting with EU leaders in May, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed a partnership in cyber security. If the partnership becomes successful, it would certainly help Japan in the preparation of Tokyo 2020 Olympics. As of now, the two parties have reached an agreement to exchange the knowledge and expertise in cyber security practices.


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New Laws Coming

In the next few months, the Japanese government is planning to pass a law that would toughen the country’s cyber security. Almost 50 percent of Japanese companies do not have a cyber security policy. The biggest reason why companies do not worry about cyber security is because they believe it cannot happen in Japan.

However, contrary to their belief, there have been millions of hacking attacks on Japanese government as well as corporate entities. Among the websites that were hit, some prominent names are Monju Nuclear Powerplant and the lower house of the Japanese Parliament.

The Japanese National Information Security Center (NISC) reported that the country is short of 80,000 IT security officers, and the ones available do not possess the required skills. The new law would make NISC the primary cyber security coordinator, and all companies would be required to report hacking incidents, despite of the bad publicity scare. This law has been passed considering the security of the 2020 Olympics.

Although it’s difficult to find who is perpetrating the security attacks, many security agencies opine that these are carried out by Chinese hackers, as the viruses are often coded in Chinese operating systems. However, it cannot be said with certainty because the attacks appear to be coming from several countries, and it’s possible that the attackers are using Chinese servers to stay hidden.

Planning for 2020

Hackers have tried to attack a Japanese sports organization as well. There have been three break-in attempts on the website of the Japan Basketball Association. The attack involved malicious code that redirected the visitors to bogus servers. During the 2020 Olympics, Japanese websites are expected to receive heavy traffic from all over the world, and hackers can take advantage of this scenario. Japan has six years to prepare for the event, and the government agencies are taking measures to beef up the security. With the new law in place, and the partnership with the EU, Japan will hopefully be able to take the challenge.