Japan passes law amendment to allow government to hack IoT devices

By Folake Dosu  |  February 2, 2019

Japan is cracking down on vulnerable IoT devices. ZDNet reports that the Japanese government recently approved a law amendment that will enable government workers to hack into people's Internet of Things devices as part of a survey.

The outlet says that employees of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) will be carrying out this survey starting next month under the supervision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. 

Over 200 million IoT devices for both in-home and enterprise use will be tested, starting with routers and web cameras, ZDNet reports.

Default passwords and password dictionaries are all fair game to hack into Japanese consumers' IoT devices, as NICT employees compile a list of insecure devices that authorities and Internet service providers can access to send alert notifications to consumer and take steps to secure the devices.

“Russian nation-state hackers deployed the Olympic Destroyer malware before the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics held in South Korea in early 2018 as payback after the International Olympic Committee banned hundreds of Russian athletes from competing.”

This drastic measure is in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics to prevent attempted hacks against the Games' IT infrastructure. As ZDNet explains, their wariness of cyberattacks is founded.

“Russian nation-state hackers deployed the Olympic Destroyer malware before the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics held in South Korea in early 2018 as payback after the International Olympic Committee banned hundreds of Russian athletes from competing,” says ZDNet.

While default or easy-to-guess passwords do facilitate cyberattacks, privacy advocates are appalled at this justification, arguing that a security alert to all users would have been sufficient.

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