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Japan preps new law to bolster government cyber defences

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Japanese lawmakers are urgently preparing a new bill designed to allow the government’s information security agencies cut through the bureaucracy that is crippling their ability to deal with online threats.

The proposed law would give the National Information Security Centre (NISC) and its Government Security Operation Coordination team (GSOC) more power, a coalition member told the Japan Times.

At present, the cross-departmental agencies apparently can’t tackle threats quickly enough because there’s no law giving them the authority to cut through government silos.

The new law will also aim to improve co-ordination among Japan’s 13 critical infrastructure operators in industries including finance, transport and electricity.

Although NISC was launched to much fanfare in 2005, it has failed to stem the tide of attacks on government systems.

GSOC data seen by the paper revealed 1.08 million attempts to gain access to government networks in 2012 – an average of one every 30 seconds, up 64 per cent from 2010.

On the plus side for Japan, prime minister Shinzo Abe’s government appears to be serious about improving Tokyo’s information security, making it a cornerstone of its national security strategy.

However, with Japanese government employees typically moved around to new roles and/or departments every few years, NISC still faces the challenge of how to keep cyber nous inside the agency.

As in the UK, Japan faces a monumental shortage of info-security professionals which threatens to derail any on-going efforts to better protect critical systems from attack.

A report back in October last year revealed that there’s a shortfall of 80,000 security pros at present, while 160,000 of the 265,000 currently employed in the industry need additional training. ®

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