In an attempt to improve Japan’s cyber security readiness for the 2020 Olympics, the Japanese government announced it will conduct a national survey to explore security breaches by hacking into 200 million IoT devices

25 Jan 2019

Based on reports published by NHK world and Forbes, Japan’s Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications, Masashi Ishida, has approved an amendment related to connected devices. According to the amendment, which is a part of a governmental security survey, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology Law, will attempt to hack connected devices at homes and offices in Japan, in order to test their vulnerabilities. The operators of the survey will randomly hack into about 200 million devices and create a list of vulnerabilities, which they will share with the owners of the breached devices as well as their Internet service providers (ISPs) for them to improve their safeguards. This move is done in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, as part of the Japanese government’s efforts to deal with cybersecurity threats.

Explore the issues

The Internet of Things (IoT) includes a wide range of Internet-connected devices, from highly digitalised cars, home appliances (e.g. fridges), and smart watches, to digitalised clothes that can monitor health. IoT devices are often connected in wide-systems, typically described as 'smart houses' or 'smart cities'.

Privacy and data protection are two interrelated Internet governance issues. Data protection is a legal mechanism that ensures privacy. Privacy is usually defined as the right of any citizen to control their own personal information and to decide about it (to disclose information or not). Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights conventions. The July 2015 appointment of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age reflects the rising importance of privacy in global digital policy, and the recognition of the need to address privacy rights issues the the global, as well as national levels.

Cybersecurity is among the main concerns of governments, Internet users, technical and business communities. Cyberthreats and cyberattacks are on the increase, and so is the extent of the financial loss. 

Yet, when the Internet was first invented, security was not a concern for the inventors. In fact, the Internet was originally designed for use by a closed circle of (mainly) academics. Communication among its users was open.

Cybersecurity came into sharper focus with the Internet expansion beyond the circle of the Internet pioneers. The Internet reiterated the old truism that technology can be both enabling and threatening. What can be used to the advantage of society can also be used to its disadvantage.


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