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Google pays $1.5m to white hat hackers, Toyota says 'thanks'

Reluctance to compensate those who find flaws reflects Japan Inc.’s vulnerability

Unlike black hat hackers who attack systems for gain and to cause damage, white hat hackers seek to discover vulnerabilities in order to strengthen defenses.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Companies such as Google and Apple are offering "white hat" hackers rewards of a million dollars or more to find flaws in their systems, while Japanese businesses including Toyota Motor provide only a polite "thank you" despite the growing role software plays in all aspects of industry.

Japan's shortcomings in cybersecurity have been well publicized. A malicious actor could shut down ventilation systems for entire buildings through old, insecure management systems, several hackers told Nikkei. ATMs at most regional banks have the potential to be accessed through outside computers as well.

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