Defensive search-and-destroy “virus” delivered to Japanese government

It took three years and 178.5 million yen (around $2.3 m) to develop a defensive cyber weapon that can track down the sources of cyber attacks and disable them, but Fujitsu apparently did it.

Contracted in 2008 by the Japanese Defense Ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute, the company was charged with producing the aforementioned computer “virus” and a separate system capable of monitoring and analyzing cyber attacks.

According to The Daily Yomiuri, the virus is not only particularly effective when it comes to identifying the computers participating in DDoS attacks, but also the computers that control these botnets. Unfortunately, it is supposedly less effective when identifying sources of attacks aimed at stealing information from targeted systems.

Upon delivery, the cyber weapon and the monitoring system were tested by the ministry in a “closed network environment”, and have obviously proven to have been worth the money invested in them.

Citing client confidentiality as the reason, Fujitsu had so far declined to comment on the program. But even if the “virus” is as good as it seems, the question about whether it can be freely used by anyone is open for debate as the Japanese Parliament has recently made malware production and distribution a criminal offense.

Given that the computer network of the Lower House of Japan’s Parliament was recently compromised and data from it stolen, the government might be more inclined to think about changing the law to suit its own defensive needs and those of its contractors, who has also been targeted lately by cyber attackers.

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