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In Japan, cyberattack ‘decoys’ planned to boost defense

  • PIXABAY

    Cyberattacks often use methods such as email to infect the systems of companies and other entities with a virus. Once inside, the virus can spread, enabling the attacker to steal information or control the system remotely.

TOKYO >> Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has decided to create decoy computer systems to combat cyberattacks.

The decoy systems would resemble actual systems used by the government and well-known companies, and be used to attract computer viruses so the government can observe and analyze their routes of infection and other characteristics.

If a new cyberattack’s traits can be understood quickly, it could help in the creation of protective measures.

The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, which the ministry oversees, plans to start building such systems in earnest in fiscal 2018 so they can be operational as soon as possible.

Cyberattacks often use methods such as email to infect the systems of companies and other entities with a virus.

Once inside, the virus can spread, enabling the attacker to steal information or control the system remotely.

Yet how viruses function once inside a system and continue to spread is often not well understood.

To prevent a virus from spreading, its method of attack need to be identified quickly to come up with countermeasures.

However, companies that are damaged by cyberattacks are often unwilling to share information externally, which means the infection may spread to other entities without countermeasures being taken.

This latest plan would involve creating a cyberspace that closely resembles a corporate system. Once a virus is lured in, its actions would be observed, and this information would be shared among companies involved in fighting cyberattacks, to create ways of preventing or containing infections.

The ministry is keen to get these decoy systems operating quickly, so it will include 200 million yen or about $1.8 million for this purpose in its requests for the fiscal 2018 budget.

The funds would be used to develop systems and other tools to share the results of the observations and analyses among related companies.

In May, a virus called WannaCry infected computers around the world, affecting major Japanese companies such as Hitachi Ltd. New cyberattacks have occurred one after another in recent years.

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