National / Crime & Legal

Cybercrimes in Japan edge up to record high, with over 2,000 child porn and prostitution cases

Kyodo, JIJI

The number of cybercrimes confirmed by police nationwide in 2018, including many cases of child pornography and fraud, stood at 9,040, rising slightly to reach a record high for the third consecutive year, National Police Agency data showed Thursday.

The figure was up by just 26 from a year before, but it marked an increase of more than 1,000 from 2014. The situation “remains serious,” an NPA official said.

Among the 9,040 cybercrimes, the highest number, at 2,057, were related to child prostitution and child pornography, followed by 972 cases of fraud and 926 related to juveniles, such as sexual misconduct involving youth age 18 or younger through online dating.

Total cryptocurrency losses due to hacking amounted to about ¥67.7 billion ($610 million) last year, including around ¥58 billion worth of the NEM digital currency stolen from the Tokyo-based Coincheck Inc. exchange in January.

Police confirmed 169 cases of hacking targeting cryptocurrency in 2018, up 20 from the previous year. All remain unsolved.

The number of cases where money was illegally transferred from accounts via internet banking services fell 103 from the previous year to 322, with the sums involved totaling ¥461 million. Around 60 percent of the recipient bank accounts were under Vietnamese names.

The agency said it detected a daily average of about 2,753 instances of suspicious access including cyberattacks in 2018, up about 860 from last year. By country, 20.8 percent originated from Russia, followed by 14.1 percent from China and 12.6 percent from the United States.

The number of targeted email attacks confirmed in Japan hit a record high of 6,740 last year, the agency said.

The data found that 6,040 cases, or 90 percent of the total, were attacks in which emails containing the same text and malicious program were sent to 10 or more addresses.

Of the email addresses that received the attacks, 71 percent were not disclosed online.

Attack emails sent from apparently fake addresses accounted for 98 percent of the total.

Of the attached files, those that were compressed accounted for 32 percent, down from 58 percent in the previous year.

The NPA collects information on email attacks from companies and other parties and provides them with the results of its data analysis.

The agency hopes that the results will help the parties better protect themselves against such attacks.