Japan holds first hacking contest backed by government

Despite being one of the greater world economies and being technologically advanced as few others, Japan has woken up to the reality of cyber crime relatively late.

The highly publicized compromise of Japanese Parliament’s computers and successful confidential data exfiltration, as well as the Japanese defense contractor hack and the compromise of the Japanese Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Ministry networks were probably the breaking point that made the government realize that they will not be spared by attackers.

Add to this the recent maritime dispute between Japan and China over a group of Japanese islands and the fact that China is widely considered to be one of the most active nations when it comes to cyber espionage, it’s easy to see what finally spurred them on to make an effort to jumpstart the nation’s cyber defensive capabilities and pass laws that will criminalized malware creation and distribution.

Among the results of this push is also the first-ever government-sanctioned hacking contest held last weekend in Japan, PC Mag reports.

The competitions saw nine teams of four – all winners from previously held regional rounds – trying to outdo each other in data theft and code decryption. The final round was between the best two teams, and the winner was a team of IT security workers from Tokyo.

“We need this kind of contest to fight back and survive,” commented Mashahiro Uemura from Japan’s Economy Ministry office for IT Security Policy, adding that this and other similar contest are and will be aimed at building a pool of cybersecurity specialists that will help defend the nation’s cyber resources from all attackers.

Previously such contest were avoided because it was thought they would encourage cyber crime.

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