Wed, Jan 30, 2019 - Page 5 News List

Japan to survey 200 million gadgets ahead of Olympics


Japan is preparing a national sweep of about 200 million network-connected gadgets for cybersecurity lapses ahead of next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, an official said yesterday.

The government-backed National Institute of Information and Communications Technology will start the survey next month to check potential vulnerabilities in items such as routers, webcams and Web-connected home appliances.

Tokyo is rushing to beef up cybersecurity as the nation prepares to host major global events, such as the Rugby World Cup this year, the G20 meetings and the summer Olympics.

Cybersecurity has become increasingly important as sporting events introduce new technologies for everything from broadcasting to ticketing.

For the study, researchers will take common, but unsafe IDs and passwords often exploited by malware — such as “abcd,” “1234” or “admin — to see if devices are readily accessible by hackers, institute spokesman Tsutomu Yoshida said.

The researchers would survey gadgets with the consent of Internet service providers (ISPs) and mostly examine products that use physical cables to access the Internet, he said.

The institute will not check individual mobile gadgets such as smartphones, but the survey might examine routers at cafes that provide free connectivity for mobile users, Yoshida said.

“Too often, we see webcams, for example, that are already being hacked because security settings are too simple and their images are being seen by outsiders. Sometimes they are put on public Web sites without the owners being aware,” Yoshida said.

The survey will notify ISPs about vulnerable users without breaking into individual gadgets to view data stored inside, he added.

At the Pyeongchang winter Olympic Games last year, internal Internet and Wi-Fi systems went down just as the opening ceremonies began. Pyeongchang officials acknowledged they had been the victim of a cyberattack.

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