Japan to set up cyberdefense unit by 2013

Country's defense ministry to recruit 100 people for task force to fend off cyberattacks, to gather information on computer viruses for analysis and study methods of counterattack.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Japan's defense ministry plans to create a defense force to fight cyberattacks in 2013.

About 100 people will be recruited for its cyberspace defense force, and the team will take over some of the security operations conducted by the ground, maritime and air self-defense forces, the Daily Yomiuri reported on Saturday.

The team will work to collect information about computer viruses for analysis and will improve the self-defense forces' (SDF) capacity to conduct drills to counter such viruses.

The ministry also announced the nation's first defense guidelines on cyberattacks, which states that Japan has,  the right to self-defense if a cyberattack occurs as part of an offensive strike.

The guidelines further define cyberspace as "infrastructure that is essential for policy decisions and operations of the [SDF's] units." Cyberspace is "the fifth field of military operations" along with ground, sea, air and space, and the cyberdefense team will study methods of counterattack.

Japan is no stranger to cyberattacks and espionage. In June, Hacktivist group Anonymous launched cyberattacks against Japanese government sites in retailiation to the introduction of stricter punishments for piracy. A Chinese diplomat had allegedly tried to fraudulently obtain information related to military technology from several Japanese defense companies, though China dismissed the accusations as "groundless".

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