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June 6, 2017 2:47 pm

Countering Ransomware Attacks, Japan Turns to Israeli Online Security Expertise

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Japan is turning to Israeli cybersecurity experts in advance of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Photo: Twitter

The extensive cyberattack on computer networks in  150 countries last month, during which the ransomware known as “WannaCry” was unleashed by hackers, has prompted the Japanese authorities to seek Israeli expertise as they attempt to secure their national networks.

On Monday, the Nikkei Asian Review noted that Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry, had signed an agreement with Israel in early May for greater cooperation on cyberdefense. “This marks the first cabinet-level deal between the two countries on cybersecurity,” the paper said.

“Some 16 percent of global investment in cybersecurity happens in Israel,  even though the country accounts for just 0.1 percent of the world’s population,” the paper said. “It is home to over 300 companies in the field.”

A key consideration for the Japanese is Tokyo’s hosting of the 2020 Olympic Games.

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The head of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau, Eviatar Matania, told the Nikkei that “only a handful of other countries, including the US and the UK, are considered for such strategic partnerships.”

The UK and Brazil experienced a surge in cyberattacks while hosting the Olympic Games in 2012 and 2016 respectively. The Japanese government worries it could suffer a similar fate in 2020. It hopes to mitigate such risks by working closely with Israel, the paper said.

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