Recently, the Mitsubishi Electric Corp has revealed a major security breach; and in a brief statement released on its website stated that “sensitive information on the development of attack missiles could have been stolen part of a cyberattack on the servers of the Japanese electronic manufacturer Mitsubishi Electric last year.”
The attack appeared to have occurred on June 28, 2019, and was investigated months later. After two local newspapers published the stories about the attack, now finally the company has decided to converse on the matter.
The company, Mitsubishi Electric Corp, has argued that it is industrial surveillance. Still, sources say that the hackers have targeted the defense industry, mainly to steal information on a prototype of a cutting-edge high-speed gliding missile.
A government source has explained that “Although the data was not classified as highly confidential,, the fact is that, it is still sensitive information related to the future of Japan’s defense capabilities.”
Confronted with the development of hypersonic missiles (HGV) in China, Russia, and the United States, the Japanese Ministry of Defense also launched its own research on this type of missile with a varied trajectory in 2018, sending the required specifications to the candidate companies to develop the prototype, including the Mitsubishi Electric Corp as well.
The stolen information could have included information on range, propulsion, heat resistance, and the production of the missile prototype that was requested by the Defense Ministry during the bidding process for the contract to develop the weapon; these are the data that the candidate companies promised to protect.
According to the reports, the data was stolen from the company’s internal network, about 200MB of files, mostly commercial documents. And apparently, the attackers stole data from their trading partners and defense contracts.
This whole incident is being treated with the utmost severity in Japan due to the fact that Mitsubishi Electric Corp is one of the largest defense and infrastructure contractors in the country. Moreover, the stolen data can also facilitate terrorist operations, as there is data related to the telecommunications infrastructure, railways, and the electricity grid.
All these attacks were unveiled last January, and the Japanese manufacturer believes that it was executed by the group of Chinese ‘hackers’ known as, “Tick” or by another group, known as “Bronze Butler”, allegedly controlled by the country’s military. In short, these both hacker groups are government-backed hacker groups.
The Mitsubishi Electric Corp reportedly noticed such cyberattacks in late June 2019, when they detected suspicious activity on a server at its Kamakura Research and Technological Development Center in Kanagawa Prefecture.
Moreover, since last July, more than 40 servers, more than 120 computer systems at its headquarters in Tokyo, and other of its offices have been infringed, and its personal data on some 8,000 people also have been leaked.
Along with the Mitsubishi Electric Corp, several other Japanese defense contractors like NEC Corp., Pasco Corp., and Kobe Steel Ltd., were also hit by these cyberattacks this year. But, the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has stated that “the Defense Ministry is investigating the possible impact of the information leak on national security.”
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