Japan develops virus to counter cyber-attacks: But can it be used?

Japan develops virus to counter cyber-attacks: But can it be used?

Summary: Japan's Ministry of Defense has commissioned Fujitsu to create a 'search and destroy' virus to counter cyber-attacks, but current legislation prevents its use.

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The Japanese Ministry of Defense has revealed its latest project to tackle hacking: a 'seek and destroy' virus designed to track and disable the source of cyber-attacks.

The project, launched in 2008, cost $2.3 million over three years. Several companies competed for the contract, but Fujitsu was eventually commissioned to develop the new 'cyberweapon'.

The virus has already undergone testing in a closed network environment.

The major feature of the virus is the ability to trace down the source of cyber attacks, including 'spring board' computers used in the attack. The idea is that the 'cyberweapon' will also be able to disable the attacking program and collect information.

According to The Daily Youmuri, the virus is particularly effective against distributed denial-of-service attacks, a common form of cyber attack where hackers bombard websites with enormous volumes of data, forcing sites to shut down.

Unfortunately, Japan's Ministry of Defense still has several hurdles to jump before this project can be utilised.

Current Japanese legislation prohibits an 'offensive' retaliation to cyber-attacks, meaning that the current laws will need to be updated before the cyberweapon could be used.

Equally, creating a virus of this sort would violate a clause banning virus production in the Criminal Code.

Ministry officials said that they presently have no authorisation to use cyberweapons to counter cyber-attacks from abroad, unless they are properly defined in defence laws.

Japan's lack of defence when it comes to cyberattacks has drawn criticism recently. A senior ministry official stated that: "Japan will be the only nation with no effective cyber-attack countermeasures unless the legal issue is settled as soon as possible".

Minoru Tereda, a former parliamentary defense secretary, said it is, "regrettable", adding: "Even if cyberweapon development continues, there will be no way to fully take advantage of it".

Fujitsu has declined to comment on the project, but Ministry has said so far that it is not considering outside applications for the program at this point.

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Topics: Government US, Government, Security

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15 comments
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  • Kinda like the U.S. ....

    where only the bad guys have guns and the good guys are defenseless!
    :-(
    kd5auq
    • RE: Japan develops virus to counter cyber-attacks: But can it be used?

      @kd5auq

      Sounds more like NYC or San Fran Freako. Everywhere else you can pretty much carry your Glock and highcap magazine.
      goingbust
      • RE: Japan develops virus to counter cyber-attacks: But can it be used?

        @goingbust Meanwhile NYC is the safest big city in America.
        jgm2
    • Obsession with rights

      @kd5auq

      When the rights of the victim take precedence over the rights of the criminal, then I'll be willing to listen to the plight of the wrong-doers.
      Until then, use all the tools available to nail them ! !
      da philster
  • BLACK ICE!

    They're gonna fry your brain once you have jacked in via your deck.
    goingbust
    • Huh?

      @goingbust Let me rephrase that: What?
      kidtree
  • They already tried viruses on CDs

    Subj, and that only hurt Sony a lot. This virus will be real fun. If watching the virus desperately searching for the virtual machine that launched the attack and has gone somewhere is not enough, why not lead it to some innocent PC, like the one of the Sony head, just in case he is planning more viruses?

    Of course, only bad hackers will do that. Good ones will study from yet another nice virus and appreciate the efforts of hard working Fujitsu engineers.
    gak1
  • RE: Japan develops virus to counter cyber-attacks: But can it be used?

    One day, you're the Pinata. Surprise!
    trm1945
  • RE: Japan develops virus to counter cyber-attacks: But can it be used?

    Now if only they'll also create a virus that targets machines sending spam, I'll swear allegiance to the Emperor!
    jgm2
  • History repeats itself

    Did we learn nothing from the Cold War?

    Building a bigger or better stick than the other bloke simply prompts global deforestation to supply the stick-makers, who are the only real winners in the end.

    Changing laws hasnt done a huge amount historically either - except make things illegal - and the old threats still remain but in an evolved form as a result.

    Sigh... Isnt it time we thought about changing how we do things instead?
    SiO2
  • RE: Japan develops virus to counter cyber-attacks: But can it be used?

    Like an oganism, white cells and antibodies. But also like in nature bigger and better virus evolve. Gotta fight back but it will always be a battle forever.
    MoeFugger
  • Just wondering...

    Wasn't this how SKYNET got started..?
    Raife_1
    • RE: Japan develops virus to counter cyber-attacks: But can it be used?

      @Raife_1 The idea sounds just like Skynet to me. How long after they release this virus do you think it will take before it works out that viruses are written by humans and that eliminating us is its best way for it to complete its mission of eliminating viruses?
      NZJester
  • RE: Japan develops virus to counter cyber-attacks: But can it be used?

    Wait for:
    (1) The international law suit when their virus damages a corporate computer because one digit in the IP address sent to was wrong.
    (2) The hackers reverse engineer the code and destroy japans industry, This idea is an open invitation to hackers at all levels.
    (3) The TRAP waiting for the virus.....
    Be very careful what you release if you don???t want hari-kari instead of a pension.
    ronangel
  • Stupid...........

    On more levels than I can count.

    Like using Tsunami Aid money to prop up their whale hunt.
    silversidhe