Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) said viruses were found on more than 80 of its servers and computers last month, but at this stage it seems no sensitive information has been lost.
Japan’s defence ministry is less than enthusiastic about the revelation and has demanded MHI carry out a full investigation. Government officials got pissed off that they only heard about the security breach through the media.
Japan’s defence minister Yasuo Ichikawa said the cyber attackers had not succeeded in accessing any important information but MHI would be instructed “to undertake a review of their information control systems”.
“The ministry will continue to monitor the problem and conduct investigations if necessary,” Mr Ichikawa added.
All government contractors are obliged to inform ministers promptly of any breach of sensitive or classified information.
The Ministry of Defence has said the delay in Mitsubishi Heavy Industries informing it of the cyber attack is “regrettable”.
Mitsubishi Heavy makes everything from warships to missiles. The giant company says it discovered the breach in mid- August, and informed the Japanese police at the end of the month.
But the defence ministry was not told until Monday afternoon, after reports had appeared in local media.
The attacks have been described as spear phishing attacks – when hackers send highly customised and specifically targeted messages aimed at tricking people into visiting a fake webpage and giving away login details.
The viruses targeted a shipyard in Nagasaki, where destroyers are built, and a facility in Kobe that manufactures submarines and parts for nuclear power stations, public broadcaster NHK reported.
A plant in Nagoya, where the company designs and builds guidance and propulsion systems for rockets and missiles, was also reportedly compromised.
Neither the Japanese government nor MHI have said who may be responsible. A report in one Japanese newspaper said Chinese language script was detected in the attack against MHI.
There we go the Chinese again. They certainly are the new bogeymen of the internet. Lookout someone has attacked us – it must be China. The Chinese government as usual employed their standard denial but this time with a little more outrage than usual. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said “China is one of the main victims of hacking… Criticising China as being the source of hacking attacks not only is baseless, it is also not beneficial for promoting international co-operation for internet security.” Yeah so stuff that up your Hong and smoke it Japan it wasn’t us ok? Just someone inside China who is paid by us that’s all.