EDITORIAL | Ending the Chinese Army’s Cyberattack Invasion
A member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has likely been involved in massive cyber attacks against Japanese entities, the National Police Agency’s Security Bureau revealed this month. The Chinese national is said to have acted under the leadership of Unit 61419 of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which specializes in cyber attacks.
From 2016 to 2017, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and some 200 other companies and research institutes in Japan were affected by large-scale cyber attacks. Evidence suggests that the series of attacks were carried out by Tick, a Chinese hacker group affiliated with the PLA.
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The male CCP member in question was a systems engineer working for a large Chinese state-owned information and telecommunications company. Police suspect that this individual, who was active in Japan at the time, used a false identity when he contracted for the rental server used in the attacks.
Police forwarded charges to prosecutors for further investigation, alleging that the Chinese citizen had engaged in the unauthorized creation and malicious use of electromagnetic recordings. They managed to interview the suspect while he was in Japan, but then he left the country.
In a similar case, a different Chinese man also used a false identity to contract the use of a rental server. There is evidence that this individual received instructions from personnel of PLA unit 61419.
Unit 61419 is a well-known PLA cyberwar detachment based in Qingdao City, Shandong Province. He is responsible for carrying out cyber attacks against Japan and South Korea.
Investigators have learned that China is using military units and spy agents to launch server attacks designed, among other things, to steal classified and private information, cause system failures, interfere with communications functions. information and key infrastructure, obstruct system operation and take control of systems.
These crimes are unforgivable and can be seen as the virtual “cyber invasion” of the PLA.
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On April 20, Cabinet Secretary-General Katsunobu Kato told a press conference that the government would “share information with affected parties and use it to take countermeasures.”
But isn’t it really a diplomatic question? The Japanese government should protest to China, demand an apology and that the suspects under investigation be surrendered and prevent such behavior from happening again in the future.
In the past, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has promised, âI will say what needs to be said to China. Now is the time for him to speak up.
Among the targets of the attacks were the Japanese space agency JAXA, defense and telecommunications related research institutes, and private companies. Government and law enforcement authorities should cooperate to conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether information has been stolen and to ensure that no malicious software designed to cause damage, such as malware, has been surreptitiously installed.
The recently revealed cases have again revealed how vulnerable Japan is. As it stands, Japan has no anti-spy laws on the books to directly expose the secret activities of spies operating in Japan under the guise of working for Chinese state-owned enterprises. And the problem of suspects fleeing overseas has come to the fore again.
The government and the parties in power must act to establish appropriate laws.
(Read the editorial by Sankei Shimbun in Japanese on this link.)
Author: editorial board, The Sankei Shimbun