Hackers target Japan’s legion of pensioners, stealing wads of data

A ‘team’ being established to investigate cause. Phew

Photograph by Mr Hicks64, Creative Commons, Commercial Use allowed (https://flic.kr/p/grR7Fw)
Photograph by Mr Hicks64 - (https://flic.kr/p/grR7Fw)

Approximately 1.25 million of Japan's elderly citizens have had their sensitive personal data stolen after an emailed virus took root in the Japan Pension Service's staff computers.

The data includes combinations of names, identification numbers, birth dates and addresses

Reuters reports that the data spaff was admitted by authorities on Monday, "in an embarrassment that revived memories of a scandal that helped topple Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his first term in office".

The pension system president, Toichiro Mizushima, reportedly announced to a hastily convened press conference that "a team" was being established to investigate the cause and prevent a re-occurrence of the leak, which was discovered last Thursday.

It is understood that the pension service will be working to assign new ID numbers to the individuals whose data had been compromised in an attempt to prevent it being illegally exploited.

Abe, who was re-elected in 2012, ended his first term as prime minister in 2007 following a national scandal regarding his Liberal Democrat party which involved allegations of massive levels of fraudulent pension payments.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is also investigating the computer breach. It is understood that the government held an emergency summit of experts from relevant ministries and security agencies to mitigate the attack.

"These are the people's vital pensions. I have instructed Health and Welfare Minister (Yasuhisa) Shiozaki to consider the pension recipients and do everything possible," Abe told reporters, according to Reuters.

Cybercrims aren't the only groups targeting Japan's aging demos for data slurping. Apple and IBM announced they would be teaming up to collect the elderly's health data back in April. ®


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