Japan, ASEAN, team up for cyberdefense

Japan, ASEAN, team up for cyberdefense

In the wake of a series of cyber attacks from Chinese I.P. addresses at the height of the Senkaku/Diaoyu island dispute, Yomiuri Shimbun reports that Japan is pushing a plan to create a "cyber defense network" consisting of Japan and 10 ASEAN countries.

"Under the system, the government intends to share information about cyber-attack patterns and technology to defend against the attacks. It also plans to carry out exercises to verify the effectiveness of the system within the current fiscal year."

More details will be discussed during meetings on information security in Tokyo this week, but the countries reportedly interested in participating include Thailand and Indonesia.

While the network’s present plans — sharing technology and information about attack patterns — don’t seem particularly innovative or groundbreaking, the fact that the network is being formed could be seen as another sign of widespread, cross-border fears of Chinese hackers.  

More than a dozen Japanese websites belonging to banks, a government minister, a hospital, and some courts were hit during the row over the Senkaku Islands, many altered to display Chinese flags or to proclaim that the Diaoyu islands belong to China.  Similar attacks took place on websites in the Phillipines – again related to a territorial spat over an island – earlier this year (although in fairness, Filipino hackers struck back) while last week saw a flurry of reports claiming that Chinese hackers had targeted the White House in a cyberattack (the White House said the attacks were a simple spear-phishing email, and that no harm had been done). 

Yomiuiri Shimbun also reports that ASEAN countries might be interested in the network because their protections against cyberattacks haven’t kept up with the increased use of computer equipment that has accompanied economic development.