Japan foreign offices, parliament hit by virus attack

Some government computers were infected by a virus via email, but Tokyo's top spokesman says no critical data was lost.

Computers at Japan's diplomatic offices abroad and its House of Representatives were infected by viruses during cyberattacks over the last several months, the country's top spokesman said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its overseas offices, which include embassies and consulates, were targeted by emails from June in a focused attack aimed at gaining information, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Wednesday. Multiple computers and a server in Japan's House of Representatives were infected in late August, and other government bodies have also been targeted, he said.

The computers that were compromised at the foreign ministry's overseas locations, which include embassies and consulates, were on a network that handles materials of low secrecy, Fujimura said. A completely separate network that contains sensitive materials was not involved.

"There has been absolutely no leak of confidential information," he said, declining to elaborate on specific locations or the nature of the attacks.

The virus at the House of Representatives infected several computers and a server, which were detected in late August and cut off from the network in an incident that is still being investigated, he said. Local media reports said it was a malicious attack that could have stolen logins and passwords which protect emails and other private information.

News of the latest attacks came as Japan's largest defense contractor admitted it was possible secret information had been stolen by hackers in a broad attack that occurred in August.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had denied that any sensitive data was lost after dozens of its computers and servers were infected with malware by hackers. But it said Tuesday that some information could have been lost from a server that had been unintentionally loaded with details about the company's products and technologies.

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Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
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