Japan's biggest defence contractor, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) says it has come under sustained cyber-attack by unidentified hackers and is investigating whether any of its confidential defene and nuclear power data has been compromised.
Although Japanese defense minister Yasuo Ichikawa yesterday said that he was not aware whether important data has been leaked, MHI, which has built weapons including surface-to-air Patriot missiles under license and AIM-7 Sparrow air-to-air missiles, said that it has retained the services an internet security company to launch an investigation.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that the cyber attack, which was first noticed late last month, targeted eight MHI manufacturing bases and two research centers across the country, as well as its head office in Tokyo.
According to company officials, 45 servers and 38 computers at 11 company facilities were found infected with eight types of viruses, including Trojan horse, which steals key information from infected computer hardware.
They attack, the first known cyber attack on Japan's defence industry, included MHI's Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works in Kobe, Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Nagasaki, and its Nagoya Guidance & Propulsion Systems Works in Komaki, Aichi Prefecture.
The Kobe shipyard makes nuclear power plants and submarines, the Nagasaki shipyard manufactures SDF destroyers, while the Komaki facility produces guided missiles for intercepting ballistic missiles, as well as rocket engines for space development.