Japan’s space agency was likely penetrated by cyber attack

Officials stated on Wednesday that although Japan’s space agency was probably the target of an unknown cyberattack this year, no private data regarding satellites or rockets was accessed.

Government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) informed to the government that the “possibility is high that unauthorized access was made” to its central system.

The server controls JAXA’s intranet, but “we have received information that the intranet is not dealing with sensitive information such as the operation of rockets and satellites,” Matsuno said.

A JAXA spokesman told AFP that the agency was investigating the incident in cooperation with police and cybersecurity vendor companies.

“We think that the vulnerability of network equipment was targeted,” he said.

Police became aware of the attack earlier this year and notified JAXA, which was not unaware of the cyber attack until contacted by police, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported.

The center of Japan’s space industry, JAXA is responsible for developing new rockets, launching satellites, and managing the nation’s continuing “Moon Sniper” mission, which launched in September.

One of the major ports in Japan, Nagoya Port, was rendered unusable in July due to a ransomware attack that was purportedly the work of the Russian cybercrime group Lockbit.

The Financial Times revealed in August that hackers had hacked Japan’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity (NISC), which is in charge of the country’s defenses against cyberattacks, for up to nine months.

The same month the Washington Post cited US officials as saying that Chinese hackers had compromised Japanese classified defence networks in 2020, raising concerns about the cyber defences of one of Washington’s closest allies in Asia. The Japanese government denied the claims.

This article has been posted by a News Hour Correspondent. For queries, please contact through [email protected]
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