Japanese parliament hit by cyber-attack

Filed Under: Law & order, Malware

Japanese Lower HouseAccording to local media reports, hackers were able to snoop upon emails and steal passwords from computers belonging to lawmakers at the Japanese parliament for over a month.

A report in the Asahi Shimbun claims that PCs and servers were infected after a Trojan horse was emailed to a a Lower House member in July.

The Trojan horse then downloaded malware from a server based in China - allowing remote hackers to secretly spy on email communications and steal usernames and passwords from lawmakers.

Attack method

Inevitably there will be suspicions that the attack was sponsored by the Chinese, because of the involvement of a server based in China. But that fact alone is not a convincing reason to blame China for the attack.

For one thing, it's perfectly possibly that the attack was the work of a lone Chinese hacker - without the backing of his government or military. And even more relevantly, computer hackers can plant their malware on servers all around the world - so it's just as possible that a hacker in, say, New Zealand placed his malware on a compromised Chinese server.

I'm not saying it wasn't China, of course. Just that you need more evidence than the role of a Chinese server in the attack. Everyone would be wise to remember that there's a need to collect real evidence before the finger pointing begins.

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One Response to Japanese parliament hit by cyber-attack

  1. who donit · 1394 days ago

    Just shut china off the internet until it cleans up its act, including intellectual property theft. See how long such attacks and pirating continue ... regardless of who is responsible for these attacks, rogue nations should not be fully welcome in the world community ...

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at https://grahamcluley.com, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley