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Technology

Japan internet of things screening finds 100 virus infections a day

Nationwide checkup on routers and cameras aims to prevent major cyberattacks

Japan's communications ministry hopes to catch threats to internet of things devices early on.

TOKYO -- Japan's communications ministry started an initiative this month to screen networked "internet of things" devices for viruses, and says it is finding 100 infected gadgets a day.

As more and more electronics are connected to the internet, the risk grows that a single infected device could spread viruses to numerous others. Some fear the internet of things could offer attractive starting points for major cyberattacks.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications hopes to guard against this by catching the threats early on and prompting owners to disinfect their devices.

Screening targets include routers, which directly connect to the internet, along with security cameras and sensors. About 100 million of these devices have been assigned IP addresses -- numbers that identify a location on the internet -- by 33 Japanese internet service providers, such as NTT Communications. They represent about half the total number of IP addresses in the country.

The ministry uses false IP addresses to detect devices that have been compromised.

Internet of things technology relies on data collected from a vast number of devices, including cameras and sensors, to work. Since the electronics are always connected, they are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

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