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Mitsubishi Electric data may have been compromised in cyberattack

Major defense contractor says it suspects Chinese hacker group

Mitsubishi Electric, a key player in Japan's defense and infrastructure industries, detected a major cyberattack last year. (Nikkei montage/Source photo by Keiki Kashiwabara)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Mitsubishi Electric Corp. said Monday it has been targeted in a massive cyberattack, and that information regarding government agencies and other business partners may have been compromised.

A key player in Japan's defense and infrastructure industries, the electronics giant said that among the potentially leaked information are email exchanges with the Defense Ministry and the Nuclear Regulation Authority as well as documents related to projects with private firms, including utilities, railway operators, communications and automakers.

It said, however, that no highly sensitive information pertaining to infrastructure operations had been breached.

In June last year, the company spotted irregular activity on devices located in Japan, and conducted an internal investigation, which found unauthorized access to the management section at its head office and elsewhere.

A Chinese cybercrime group is suspected of carrying out the unauthorized access to personal computers and servers, it said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government has been notified of the matter, and that the targeted information relates to job applicants and employees of the company, as well as its sales and technologies.

"They have confirmed there is no leak of sensitive information regarding defense equipment and electricity," Suga said.

Mitsubishi Electric released a statement saying, "We deeply apologize for causing great worry and inconvenience."

Mitsubishi Electric has been a major manufacturer in the defense field, and had the third-largest contract for major defense equipment at the Defense Ministry in fiscal 2018.

It has also been involved in the cyber security business.

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