Defense Ministry to stiffen cybersecurity standards

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of the Defense Ministry is seen in Tokyo.

The Defense Ministry plans to introduce stricter cybersecurity standards, in line with those adopted by the United States, for its domestic contractor companies from next April to protect against possible cyber-attacks on the defense industry.

According to sources, the ministry aims to prevent the leakage of sensitive national security information through measures such as requiring companies to strengthen their monitoring systems with an eye on cyber-attacks by China and other countries.

The ministry plans to set up new cybersecurity standards for the defense industry in line with relevant standards adopted by the U.S. Defense Department. About 250 companies that have signed defense equipment contracts with the ministry will be required to adopt the new standards.

Under the current standards, the companies are only required to keep records of when they are hit by cyber-attacks, but the new standards are intended to make them detect and respond to such attacks swiftly by constantly monitoring the records, the sources said.

The new standards will also oblige the companies to conduct cybersecurity drills at least once a year. Regular scanning with the use of high-performance virus software and system backups will also be required, according to the sources.