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Net bank robberies surged in 2013: NPA

Kyodo

The National Police Agency said Thursday that nearly 3,000 cases of illegal, unauthorized Internet access were logged in 2013, more than double the previous year, as attacks on the nation’s online banking systems surged.

The police counted a record 2,951 violations, up 1,700 from the previous year, prompting authorities to respond with law-enforcement measures in 145 cases, also a record high, for a rise of nine, the agency said.

A sharp fourteenfold increase was observed in fund transfers from Internet bank accounts after the account holders’ computers were infected with viruses that stole their IDs and passwords, the agency said. These cases totaled 1,325.

The agency said it is difficult to track down the perpetrators of illegal fund transfers because they often use complex access methods involving overseas computer servers and software that makes them anonymous online. No arrests or law-enforcement actions were made in such cases last year.

“By improving technical capabilities and strengthening cooperation with investigative authorities of foreign countries, we want to crack down on these cases,” an agency official said.

The second-most frequent cases involved online shopping using stolen IDs and passwords, followed by unauthorized operation of social networking sites and online games, and the illegal modification or deletion of websites.

The law against illegal access prohibits such acts as using other people’s IDs and passwords without consent and accessing PCs via security holes. Violators can get up to three years in prison or a fine of up to ¥1 million.