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Japan's Parliament, defense contractor, pierced by hackers

Emails, fighter jet plans, exposed

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Sensitive data belonging to 480 lawmakers and their staff may have been exposed for more than a month, after computers in Japan's Parliament were infected by malware, it was widely reported on Tuesday.

The data-stealing trojan compromised computers used by three members of the Lower House, and possibly a server, The New York Times said. It gained a foothold after a lawmaker opened a file attached to an email at the end of July, Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported.

The compromise gave attackers access to email and documents possessed by the chamber's members until late August, Asahi said, citing unnamed sources. The trojan caused hijacked machines to communicate with a server located in China.

The reports came a day after Asahi published an article claiming that a previously reported attack on the network of a Japanese maker of sensitive weapons systems exposed plans for fighter jets and other defense equipment, in addition to nuclear power plant designs and safety plans. The attackers, who included simplified Chinese characters in their code, infected 83 computers and servers at 11 locations.

The Lower House Committee on Rules and Administration convened a meeting on Tuesday and agreed to set up a headquarters at the secretariat to investigate the case. A parliament official said the Cabinet Secretariat's information security center and police, are looking in to the case. ®

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