The National Police Agency said Thursday there were about 51,000 attempts by hackers to break into police computer systems throughout the country during the three-month period from July to September.

But agency officials said the attempts were not all necessarily directed at police, and that some of the hackers may have accessed the computers unknowingly because the agency does not disclose that police are in charge of the systems in question.

The NPA’s Cyber Force unit began monitoring hacking attempts in April using a network linking 57 computer systems at regional police bureaus and prefectural police departments.

The unit, which combats Net-based terrorism in the form of computer hacking, said that on average each system was the recipient of 10 hacking attempts a day over the three-month period.

“(These figures show that) you need to discard the notion that individually owned computers are secure and need to strengthen measures to counter hacking,” an NPA official said.

Italy was the most frequently used base for launching cyber attacks against the police computer systems, representing 20.6 percent of all attempts.

It was followed by the United States at 18.8 percent, Japan at 18.2 percent, China at 7.2 percent, South Korea at 5.9 percent and Israel at 4.9 percent.

Officials said, however, that these figures did not necessarily point to the actual country where the attack originated, as they only indicate the last point before reaching Japan.

The Cyber Force data also show that nearly 90 percent of the hacking activities detected amounted to attempts to learn what kinds of programs were being used by the targeted computers.

This is seen as a preparatory activity for full-fledged hacking. About 10 percent represented attacks meant to shut down or take control of the systems, such as by repeatedly trying to overload a system by flooding it with hits, or by sending data that would damage the computers.

The NPA intends to monitor these activities regularly and provide its results to firms involved in telecommunications, electric power and transportation.

The agency will also launch a Web site on cyber security in March to try to inform the public on ways to guard against hacking, NPA officials said.

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