TOKYO -- The Japanese government will revise cybersecurity guidelines for 14 areas of infrastructure, including electricity grids and waterways, by this spring. The review had been planned for after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks have prompted officials to bring forward the change.
Recent technological developments have made remote cyberattacks easier.
If an infrastructure system were to freeze during an attack, the supply of water, electricity or gas would likely be disrupted. There are also fears that aircraft and train information could be leaked and falsified, hindering safe travel operations.
While Japan has not yet fallen victim an attack that has interrupted services, certain companies have experienced disruption, according to a government official.
In December, 30.6 million Softbank subscriber lines were damaged, leading to widespread service interruptions. The outage was linked to software at switching facilities of Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson.
The government will hold a panel hearing on Jan. 17 to start the process, with the aim of strengthening information sharing between the public and private sectors.
This April, a group of government organizations, private companies and universities will gather to discuss the latest cyberattack techniques and countermeasures, in what will be the first instance of the public and private sectors addressing the issue together. Membership will be kept confidential to minimize the risk of information being leaked.
Business officials say measures to deal with defective equipment will also be included, in order to help prevent incidents such as Softbank’s service outage.
In addition, companies will be asked to store data domestically. Certain entities that manage infrastructure systems store some noncritical information on overseas servers, according to a government official. Keeping that information in the country would lower the risk of breaches or data falsification.