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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Japan's MPT to Develop Technology to ID Internet Hackers
  • November 4, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications said it will develop technology to track and identify illegal intruders to corporate computers over the Internet.
    Development work is to begin in April 1999. With this tracking program, a third party will be able to issue a warning on behalf of an attacked company to someone who has tried illegally accessing the company.

    Currently, the only measure an invaded company can take is to send a warning to the invader after identifying that individual based on historical data prepared by the company's firewall and monitoring software.

    MPT will develop the tracking program, taking into consideration the liaison with such off-the-shelf security products.

    In the procedure to identify the intruder, a company damaged by an illegal access first must send information necessary for tracking the access to an information collecting management server equipped with the tracking program.

    The server then traces back the transmission route used for the illegal access in order to identify where the access originated. When the hacker is identified, the server sends a warning message to stop further access.

    However, it is not yet decided who will be in charge of running the information collecting management server. Therefore, the impact a warning message might have on a hacker's conduct is unknown.

    The MPT plan is positioned as one of measures to prevent illegal access through administrative guidance. It is due to be conducted from fiscal 1999 for three years. MPT is at present working on the budget for fiscal 1999 with the Ministry of Finance, which is expected to conclude the work by the end of 1998 at the earliest.

    If MPT's request is granted, private corporations will be publicly invited to offer the tracking technology through the Telecommunications Advancement Organization of Japan (TAO), an MPT authorized body.

    The success in the MPT plan depends on how to interpret current laws that may impose restrictions. What most concerns MPT is the issue of secrecy of communications.

    "In the present state, even a company attacked by a hacker might not be eligible to be informed of identity of the hacker, but the tracking program can identify the hacker," MPT said.

    Depending on how the secrecy of communications is applied, even a hacker can claim the right to prevent his or her communications history from being spread via notification such as the MPT plan.

    In addition, there are no regulations to keep control over hacking itself. Even if an illegal online invader to a computer is pinpointed, he or she can evade punishment unless the victim can prove actual damages such as obstruction of business due to falsification of records.

    Related stories:
    � Damage from Unauthorized Computer Access Reported as High
    � Network Security Inspection Services Debut in Response to Crisis

    (Nikkei Computer)

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    Updated: Tue Nov 3 17:39:56 1998 PDT