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Japanese gov builds APT database to study targeted attack info

Hopes to understand attackers' MO, share info with US

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The Japanese government will respond to the increasing threats from targeted cyber attacks by building a centralised advanced persistent threat (APT) database designed to aggregate threat intelligence so it can be shared with domestic security organisations and foreign governments.

The ¥800m project is being built in co-operation with foreign and domestic companies and government agencies and co-ordinated by the information security office of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, according to Japanese business news site SankeiBiz.

Targeted attacks on government bodies and private industry in Japan have spiked as per most other countries in the past year or two, most notably defence companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Given most attacks come from servers outside of Japan, the database will apparently include information from the US as well as Asian countries, organised by type of malware, geographical location of attack servers, and so on.

The database will compile threat information in co-operation with victim organisations inside Japan, and also by using a “fake server” designed to impersonate specific targets and attract APT-style attacks, the report said.

The idea is that organisations and government officials will be able to use the information aggregated in the database to help build more effective cyber defence strategies, and intelligence will also be shared with the US.

Japan might be slightly late to the game with its response to targeted cyber attacks but with growing threat from outside its borders – especially nearby China, which was implicated in the Mitsubishi attack – is doing its best to make up for lost time.

That said, its FBI-style National Police Agency has been universally panned for its lack of cyber-savvy after being led a merry dance by a cat-loving hacker recently.

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