Japan to boost drills to counter cyberattacks ahead of 2020 Olympics

Kyodo

The government plans to increase the number and scale of exercises aimed at countering cyberattacks during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, government sources said Saturday.

The drills, held about six times a year and involving ministry and agency officials, will be increased to at least 10 and expanded to include local governments trailing in cybersecurity measures.

The official website for the 2012 London Olympics is known to have been attacked about 200 million times, and Japan is bracing for even more attacks in 2020.

For the exercises, the participants are divided into teams that learn how to determine which computer terminals have been attacked and how to prevent the situation from worsening, as well how to investigate the cause and report what is happening.

The central government believes prefectural and municipal governments lack experience in this field and plans to put priority on training municipal officials in remote areas, because they cannot rely on specialists in urban areas if their computer systems are attacked.

For Tokyo Olympic organizing committee officials, the central government plans to run drills involving simulated attacks on the ticket sales system of a mock official website, the sources said.

By having local government officials in charge of computer systems and others join the drills, the number of participants is expected to increase to 2,000 from 300 now, the sources said.

The government also plans to send officials to London and to Rio de Janeiro, which will host the 2016 Games, to collect information on cybersecurity.

The government is moving to bolster security after a series of electronic breaches. The Japan Pension Service, operator of the country’s public pension program, was hit by cyberattacks in May, leading to the leakage of 1.25 million people’s personal data.