Japanese Parliament’s computers infected, data stolen

As the investigation into the breach of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ networks discovered last month continues, internal sources have confirmed that sensitive and confidential data has indeed been exfiltrated by the attackers.

According to The Asahi Shimbun, documents containing information on fighter jets and other defense equipment, and nuclear power plant design and safety plans have been sent from the infected company computers to remote servers located in a variety of countries, including the U.S., China and Hong Kong.

This news was overshadowed today by the revelation that the computer network of the Lower House of Japan’s Parliament has also been compromised after a member opened an email attachment carrying a downloader Trojan in July.

The infection spread to other three other computers used by other members, and the Trojan phoned home to a server based in China and downloaded other information-stealing malware. The Trojan also compromised the network’s server, where the ID codes and passwords of all the members of the Lower House and their secretaries are stored.

The investigators believe that this information has been used to spy on the email communication of the lawmakers and peek into the personal and official confidential documents contained on the infected computers. It seems that the goal of this attack couldn’t be more obvious: the attackers were searching for information on Japan’s national politics.

So far, it is believed that the network has been breached at least a month before the fact was discovered, and possibly even earlier. As the investigation continues, the legislators have been advised to change all their passwords.

Speculations about the individuals or group behind the attack seem mostly to point toward China, although the fact that the server from which the additional malware was downloaded is located in that country doesn’t conclusively prove that the Chinese are behind it.

The Chinese government has, predictably, denied any involvement in both attacks.

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