Japan space agency suffers multiple cyberattacks, data leak suspected

Japan space agency suffers multiple cyberattacks, data leak suspected

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Japan space agency suffers multiple cyberattacks, data leak suspected

Japan’s space agency has been hit by multiple cyberattacks since last year, the government said Friday, with a potential data leak suspected, but the science ministry says no confidential information leak has been confirmed.

A source close to the matter said the cyberattacks are believed to have been perpetrated by Chinese-affiliated hackers, adding a huge number of files may have been viewed, including information on external companies and organizations under nondisclosure agreements with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

JAXA said the network that was accessed illegally did not contain “sensitive information” related to the operations of rockets, satellites and national security. Japanese science minister Masahito Moriyama said there is “no great concern.”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, the top government spokesman, said at a regular press conference that JAXA is investigating the incidents to determine their impact with the cooperation of specialized organizations.

The server attacked in June 2023 stored personal data of JAXA employees, which might have been used to gain access to classified documents, the source said. The attackers apparently exploited a vulnerability in the virtual private network that allows external connection to the internal system.

JAXA has suffered several cyberattacks this year, according to the source. The agency was also targeted by cyberattacks in 2016 and 2017, which appeared to be aimed at data theft by hackers affiliated with China.