MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES has admitted that unknown hackers have managed to infect tens of its computers with information stealing malware in possible cyber espionage attempts.
The Daily Yomiuri newspaper reports that eight different strains of malware were found on around 80 computers located at Mitsubishi's headquarters, as well as at its research and manufacturing facilities.
The Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works and Nagoya Guidance & Propulsion System Works were among the sites that got hit in the malware attacks.
These factories make sensitive components for nuclear power plants, escort ships, guided missiles and rocket engines, and they work with a lot of sensitive information.
The company is still working to determine how much and what kind of information has been leaked as a result of its computers having been infected with information stealing trojans.
"We've found out that some system information such as IP addresses have been leaked and that's creepy enough," a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries spokesman said, according to Reuters.
"We can't rule out small possibilities of further information leakage but so far crucial data about our products or technologies have been kept safe," he added.
As Japan's largest defence contractor and builder of some of the world's most sophisticated submarines, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is an attractive target for cyber spies.
But while such attacks are common in the United States, where defence contractors and government agencies are frequently targeted, they go pretty much unobserved in Japan. In fact, this might be one of the first ever cyber espionage attacks detected in the country.
In comparison, since the beginning of the year, companies like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications and Booz Allen Hamilton have all suffered security breaches. China is usually a prime suspect in most of the attacks, but the government in Beijing has repeatedly denied any involvement in such actions. µ
Under pressure, pushing down on me, pushing down on my screen
Keep an eye on that neighbour who's been talking about making a killer drone...
WiFi, why Delilah
We've only been waiting two years