• Kyodo News


Police uncovered and took action in a record number of cases of unauthorized access to Internet sites in 2009, a National Police Agency survey showed Thursday.

The number of cases in which illegal Net access was recognized by police surged 22.1 percent from the previous year to 2,795 in 2009, the highest since the agency began compiling data in 2000.

The number of cases in which arrests and other police actions were taken jumped 45.6 percent, to 2,534, also the highest, the agency said.

The figure jumped more than nine times from 2005, and 84.7 percent of the cases involved fraud using Net auction sites.

Especially rampant among illegal Net access cases in 2009 was stealing of passwords and other private information through “phishing” methods. Such violations jumped 24-fold during the year, from 88 to 2,084.

In phishing, Net users are tricked into entering their passwords after they are directed to Web sites that falsely claim to be those of established businesses. The number of fraud cases via Internet auction sites came to 522 in 2009, less than half the number in the previous year.

The substantial decline reflected the introduction by many online banks of a new settlement system in which auction money is sent to sellers only after the goods are received by the buyer.

The number of cybercrime cases grew 5.8 percent to a record 6,690, including a twofold jump to 507 cases for Net crimes involving child pornography, the agency said.

The number of Net posts about suicide plans came to 223 cases involving 228 people in 2009. Both figures were the highest since data began to be collected in 2006. Two people committed suicide after the posts.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.