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Warplane and nuclear plant data were at risk in Mitsubishi Heavy attack

Worrying revelations in cyber warfare
Tue Oct 25 2011, 13:53

HACKERS MIGHT HAVE STOLEN warplane and nuclear power plant information in the cyber attack on Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in August.

Sources close to the company revealed to the Asahi Japan Watch that extensive classified data might have been stolen from some of the 83 computers and servers that were found to be infected with up to 50 viruses.

The computers were in 11 different locations, including sensitive areas like the Kobe and Nagasaki shipyards, which construct submarines and destroyers, and the Nagoya facility, which makes guided missile systems.

Initially Mitsubishi Heavy Industries refused to confirm that any data had been stolen, assuring Japanese authorities that it had taken every appropriate measure to safeguard military information.

Now, however, it has been revealed that the company found evidence that suggested information on fighter jets and helicopters designed for Japan's Ministry of Defence and nuclear power plant and anti-earthquake data was pilfered by the hackers.

The aircraft information could be used to find vulnerabilities in Japan's air force or air defences, while the nuclear power plant data could be employed to design a Stuxnet style attack similar to the one launched against Iran's nuclear fuel enrichment systems.

The Japanese government is already furious with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for taking over a month to reveal the hacking attack. It had threatened to penalise the company and might be even more inclined to do so now that some of its confidential military information has been exposed.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is still keeping pretty tight-lipped about the incident, which is understandable given the possibility that significantly more data relating to other Japanese military equipment could have also been stolen in the attack. The longer it stays silent, however, the more damage it will do to its reputation and the more likely it will be that its large defence contracts with the Japanese government will be affected. µ


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