Media: Tokyo police open case against Chinese engineer suspected of cyber espionage

He has already left Japan, according to national public television

Media: Tokyo police open case against Chinese engineer suspected of cyber espionage

The Tokyo police’s public security department dealing with espionage issues handed over documents to prosecutors on Tuesday to open a legal case against a systems engineer from China believed to have co-hosted a major cyberattack against more than 200 Japanese academic institutions and companies in 2016, including a major space research centre. The man, aged between 30 and 40, has not been named and has already fled Japan, national public television reported.

The attack, it said, targeted defence-related major electronics corporations Hitachi and Mitsubishi Electric, the science centres of leading private universities and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), among others. According to the investigation, a PRC systems engineer rented servers in Japan under a false name to prepare for the attacks and turned them over to a group of Chinese hackers called Tick. They are allegedly linked to the Chinese military, in particular the so-called cyber-attack unit number 61419.

JAXA on Tuesday acknowledged the incident, but said no classified information was leaked at the time.

At a press conference in Tokyo, Cabinet Secretary General Katsunobu Kato refrained from commenting on the merits of the case, but stressed that cyber attacks on government agencies and critical infrastructure are becoming more organized and sophisticated. The government, he said, would make efforts to strengthen defences against such attacks.

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