The Japanese government has given permission to employees of National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Japan’s primary national Research Insitute, to hack into citizen’s Internet of Things [IoT] devices. The government in a law amendment on Friday permitted NICT to hack into citizen’s IoT devices for assessing password security. NICT, under the watch of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, is hacking into the citizens IoT devices as a part of a survey which finds insecure IoT devices.
NICT employees are allowed to utilize default passwords and password dictionaries to log into IoT devices. They plan to gather a list of insecure devices which use weak passwords and pass it on to authorities and internet service providers. The citizens with weak passwords will get alerted and internet service providers can take measures to secure these devices.
The survey which involves testing of over 200 million devices is scheduled to begin next month. The testing will range from routers to web cameras. Devices used by both business networks and houses will be tested.
The Japanese government’s decision to hack into citizen’s IoT devices have ignited a commotion among the Japanese citizens. Many say that this is not necessary step as authorities can send a private alert if the user’s passwords are not strong. Citizens added that there is no guarantee that people would change their passwords even after an alert.
However, reports from the Japanese ministry claim that two-thirds of the cyber attacks of 2016 were aimed at IoT devices. Moreover, numerous IoT and router botnets are currently built by hackers. Hackers find it easier to take control of devices with default or weak passwords. The easiest way to create a botnet is by gathering routers that the users have not secured with a custom password.
The Japanese government has launched this move to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The government is trying to ward off any potential hacks that might affect the Olympic games’ IT infrastructure.
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