Report: Japan Net Users Too Lax on Security

Japan’s rush to soar into cyberspace reportedly made it easy for hackers to attack government Web sites last month, and the country’s vulnerability is reflected in similar attacks on major U.S. sites this week.

A Reuters report today contended that Japan was slow to embrace the Internet, but in recent months cyberspace has become a craze among government, business and individuals, racing to catch up.

The big rush bypassed the implementation of widespread security measures and left government sites wide open to hackers, Reuters said.

Embarrassing Attacks

Last month a series of attacks on its Web sites left government officials embarrassed, the report said. Hackers posted messages attacking Japan’s record in World War II, swiped personnel files and added links to pornographic sites.

Reuters quoted Yutaka Iimori, director of Cyber Angels Japan, a privately organized crime prevention group, as saying, “That was a good lesson. Ironically, the hacking incident helped to raise awareness among Japanese of the need for every individual to think about protection on the Internet.”

U.S. Has Own Woes

However, Japan it found itself in dubious good company this week when hacker raids on U.S. Web sites proved that even nations with the most advanced technology are not immune to determined raiders, the report said.

Japan is abreast of the U.S. in terms of Web technology, the report said, citing Syun Tutiya, professor of cognitive and information sciences at Chiba University as saying, but he added that Japanese authorities have turned a blind eye to the risks in their rush to join other developed nations.

The attack on government sites underscored the absence of a sense of urgency that characterizes much of the bureaucracy, Reuters reported experts as declaring. They pointed out that only days earlier, government officials had decided to increase Web security to match the US but had set a target date of 2003.

Since then, task forces have been established to help prevent future hacker attacks, the report said. Japan will enact a new law on Sunday which prohibits improper access to computer networks.

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