Government computers and a server used by three members of the lower house were targeted by a sustained cyber attack that may have yielded passwords and user names. Furthermore, it appears sensitive e-mails and documents may have been monitored by the hackers without consent for a month.
In a news conference Tuesday, the Parliament’s Chief Cabinet Secretary and Japan’s top government spokesperson Osamu Fujimura told reporters the incident was under investigation and the police were looking into it.
The attack was further corroborated by Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, which claims the attack happened at the end of July when one of the Parliament members opened a malicious Trojan horse e-mail attachment. While Fujimura said he wasn’t certain where the attack emanated from, select reports have linked the Trojan horse to a server in China.
The Parliament hack comes just over a month after an attack on one of Japan’s largest defense contractors Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the nation’s first widely-publicized attack on such a contractor. MHI reported a data breach struck 80 computers at its Tokyo headquarters that saw the theft of IP addresses but insisted information about its products and technologies wasn’t compromised.
Japan’s government joins a list of prominent governments believed to have been infiltrated by hackers based in China and other countries. Targeted attacks on the U.S. Congress, State Department and Pentagon have been acknowledged for years.