Editorial: Japan must accelerate measures to tackle cybercrime | #cybercrime | #infosec

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With the digitalization of society, internet-based crimes are continuing to spread. Countermeasures must be accelerated.

The spread of the coronavirus, leading to a rapid increase in online services and cashless payments, has played a part in the proliferation of such crimes.

A typical type of fraud is the illicit use of credit cards. According to the Japan Consumer Credit Association, the total amount of damages reached 43.67 billion yen (about $304.6 million) in 2022, the highest amount since it began compiling statistics in 1997.

There is a high possibility that card information that has been leaked through cyberattacks on companies and personal information illicitly obtained through phishing on fake sites is being misused.

“Support fraud” is also rampant. Fraudsters inform people that their computer or smartphone has been infected with a virus or give them other false explanations to make them feel uneasy, and then have the victims send them prepaid e-money in the name of restoring their devices. According to the Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan, there were a record 2,365 consultations about this kind of fraud in 2022.

There are additionally thought to be a large number of victims who remain helpless. Investigative and administrative authorities have not been able to keep pace with the situation.

A report issued in April by an expert committee at the National Police Agency (NPA) took issue with the fact that police were reluctant to respond to people at counters. It gave examples of people coming to police but being told things like, “Even if we investigated the issue, it would be difficult to track down the assailant,” and called on police to listen carefully to people.

There are systems for accepting reports and inquiries online, but they are currently set up separately at each prefectural police department and are not user-friendly. Because of this, online counters are due to be centralized at the NPA in fiscal 2023.

However, there are limits to how far police can go in responding. They need to divide tasks up with other consultative bodies such as consumer affairs centers, and collaborate with other ministries and agencies to share information on the damage. It is also probably necessary to create support networks for victims that leverage the power of the private sector.

Cooperation from citizens is also essential. There have been many reports of cases in which convenience store employees have noticed elderly people purchasing large amounts of electronic money and stepped in to prevent fraud.

Damage through internet crimes must be halted. In order for that to happen, each person must be aware of the risks, and the public and private sectors must join hands to combat the problem.

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National Cyber Security