Japan to forge ties with ethical hackers

Japanese police hope that promoting ties with White Hats will help them better combat cyberattacks in the country, and is also considering commissioning analyses of cybercrime to private sector.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Japan's National Police Agency will promote communications with ethical hackers to better deal with cybercrime and cyberattacks.

The police hope that this will help it collect more information on such crimes, including the release of viruses designed to remotely control computers, The Japan Times reported on Thursday.

This is the agency's first organized effort to promote relations with ethical hackers, though some police investigators have formed connections of their own, according to the report.

The agency will also consider personnel exchanges with companies and universities in the information and communications field, and commissioning analyses of cybercrime and cyberattacks to the private sector. It will also ask companies to take steps to prevent personal information leaking from smartphones through apps.

This is Japan's latest effort in combating cybercrime. The country, along with 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), have been planning a cyberdefense network to better facilitate communication and data sharing. Its defense ministry also announced plans to create a defense force to fight cyberattacks, gather information on computer viruses for analysis, and study methods of counterattack.

The increased focus on online defense is because Japan is no stranger to cyberattacks. Earlier this month, computers at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery were suspected to have been remotely controlled by an overseas server, which helped steal information related to diplomatic policies. The police also arrested five people for being involved in creating and embedding a virus in smartphone applications last October, which resulted in 10 million pieces of personal information stolen from users.

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