Why Japan’s search-and-destroy cyber weapon could be a very bad idea

According to media reports, the Japanese Defense Ministry has awarded Fujitsu a contract to develop a computer virus.

No, it’s supposedly not for attacking the computers of other countries.

At least, not yet.

But it is apparently intended to help Japan counter internet attacks which have recently stolen data on fighter jets and nuclear plants, broke into submarine manufacturing plants, and even hit its parliament.

The details of precisely how Fujitsu’s “virus” – which is being developed as part of a three year 178.5 million yen (US $2.3 million) project – would operate are very sketchy, but it appears that Japan is keen to have a tool that seeks out infected computers, hopping from PC to PC, and cleans them up.

A diagram reproduced by The Yomiuri Shimbun explains the concept of the anti-virus virus clearly enough…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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