Attack on Japanese Defence Contractor
Released on: September 27, 2011, 3:03 pm
Author: QueryCLick LTD
The recent publication of the security breach suffered by the
Japanese Defence Contractor, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is just the
latest in a long series of similar breaches around the world.
Once again, the discovery of multiple instances of the installation of malware or
viruses on servers and desktops is symptomatic of what could be a very sophisticated
attack – frequently referred to as Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) type attack.
It is reported that the breach started with what is known as spear phishing attacks
- when attackers use very targeted emails; specially crafted/customised to targeted
individuals, to maximise the chances of them being opened and any links within them
being clicked on and followed.
Martin Finch, Managing Director of commissum, a specialist Information Security
Consultancy, said that “the organisation targeted
here is a typical victim of such an attack by what could be industrial espionage or
state sponsored hacking to access either national security information, or
intellectual property. Previous victims have for example included, Lockheed Martin,
the world's largest aerospace company”.
Chris Williams, senior consultant at Information Security company, commissum said that “the usual modus operandi is for
attackers to establish a foothold through initial breaches, and then use this to
both escalate the level of the breach and establish further access points. This
frequently continues over what is often a very protracted time-scale. The victim
will, if one or more breaches are discovered, be uncertain as to how many other
breaches have been established and where these are”.
China, Russia and Korea have been mentioned as possible sources of this type of
attack in the past; China in particular in this case has vigorously and indignantly
denied any involvement. That is one of the problems with a sophisticated attack of
this type; it can be almost impossible to establish for certain where the attack
originated. It is clear though that China is just one of the countries suspected of
past involvement in such attacks by US and Western European government agencies.
In addition, as is often the case, the victim is downplaying the impact and the
level of penetration achieved. It is reported that the Japanese government were not
immediately informed of the breach, as is required in the Defence sector; allegedly
it was discovered in August but was exposed by the press this week. It is unlikely
that the public will ever know for sure if the breach involved a serious leak of
With 20 years of experience, commissum is adept at offering practical advice and
recommending cost-effective solutions, to deliver a joined-up, coherent approach to
protecting an organisation's information assets.
Contact Details: Quay House
142 Commercial Street
tel: 0845 108 2066
Back to previous page
Submit your press release