Aum cult infiltrates Japanese government computers

Government investigation may be 'wake up call'

The Japanese government has launched an investigation into its computer infrastructure after it emerged that members of a controversial religious cult installed sensitive software and systems on its network.

Security officials believe that the cult could have gained access to important government information and monitored communications, according to a report in the Financial Times. The Aum Shinrikyo cult has been blamed for launching a deadly sarin gas attack on Tokyo's subway commuters in 1995, in which 12 people died.

Some members of the sect run successful computer companies that generate funds for the organisation, and which have installed software on government systems.

According to press reports, the Japanese government has denied that there has been any threat to national security. The government has also seen a number of its Web pages defaced in recent weeks. An official was quoted saying: "Japan is still naive about many security issues -- let us hope that the [Aum] case is a wake up call."

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