Japan’s JAXA space agency admits cyberattack

Japan’s space agency says it was targeted by a cyberattack, local media and government officials report.

The disclosure by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was revealed at a press conference on November 29th held by Japanese chief cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno. The attack is said to have taken place over the summer.

JAXA said it had detected “illegal access” to its systems that indicated a “high possibility” of a cyberattack, said Matsuno, who added that the government had asked it “to take countermeasures” after being notified of the incident and launching an investigation into the matter.

The cyberattack on JAXA’s central computer systems raises serious concerns that sensitive data relating to Japan’s space program has been exposed, reports local media.

Police became aware of the intrusion sometime in the autumn and reported it to JAXA, according to Japan News. The agency is thought to have been previously unaware of the security breach.

JAXA was launched in 2003 from a merger of three Japanese space agencies, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, the National Aerospace Laboratory, and the National Space Development Agency of Japan.

Mandated with supporting the Japanese government’s space program, it has been involved in dozens of satellite launches since its creation.

It’s not yet known who was behind the latest attack, although China has been previously accused of attempting to sabotage Japan’s space program.

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