Japan tasks Fujitsu with creating search-and-destroy cyber-weapon

Zombie boss hunter developed in lab


Fujitsu has been commissioned to develop ‘seek and destroy’ malware, reportedly designed to track and disable the sources of cyber-attacks.

The fledgling cyber-weapon is the result of a three-year $2.3 million project that also involved developing tools capable of monitoring and analysing the sources of hacking attacks, The Daily Yomiuri reports. Deploying the technology would involve clearing both practical and legislative hurdles.

Tracing the source of cyber-attacks is notoriously difficult, mainly because attackers routinely hide behind botnets and anonymous proxies to launch attacks, such as denial of service assaults. The malware reportedly developed by Fujitsu is designed to trace connections back to their controlling hosts before disabling them.

Getting this right is a far from trivial process and the potential for collateral damage, even before hackers develop countermeasures, appears to be considerable. Another problem is that, if the tool is ever released, it could fall into the hands of miscreants who might reverse-engineer it before adapting it for their own nefarious purposes.

The malware is reportedly been tested in a "closed network environment". The tool reportedly has the greatest potential in tracking back the sources of DDoS attacks. Whether it's any good at the much more difficult process of picking out stealthy industrial espionage-style information-stealing attempts remains unclear.

Japanese law currently prohibits offensive responses in retaliation to cyber-attacks, another potential problem but one that's easier to resolve perhaps by updating current laws. The current prohibition has more to do with post-Second World War agreements that restrict Japanese military capabilities than local laws against the creation of computer viruses.

Japan is a prime target for cyber-attacks and suffered numerous assaults last year alone. Reported victims include Japan’s parliament and industrial giant Mitsubishi.

The Defense Ministry's Technical Research and Development Institute is understood to have outsourced the development of the tool to Fujitsu. A Defense Ministry official played down talk of offensive applications for the software and told The Daily Yomiuri that it was designed for applications such as tracing the source of cyber-attacks against Japanese Self-Defense Force systems. However Prof Motohiro Tsuchiya of Keio University, a member of a government panel on information security policy, said Japan ought to accelerate cyber-weapons development.

Fujitsu declined to comment about the supposed cyber-weapon, citing client confidentiality. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Infosys skips government meeting – and collecting government taxes
    Tax portal wobbles, again

    Services giant Infosys has had a difficult week, with one of its flagship projects wobbling and India's government continuing to pressure it over labor practices.

    The wobbly projext is India's portal for filing Goods and Services Tax returns. According to India's Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), the IT services giant reported a "technical glitch" that meant auto-populated forms weren't ready for taxpayers. The company was directed to fix it and CBIC was faced with extending due dates for tax payments.

    Continue reading
  • Google keeps legacy G Suite alive and free for personal use
    Phew!

    Google has quietly dropped its demand that users of its free G Suite legacy edition cough up to continue enjoying custom email domains and cloudy productivity tools.

    This story starts in 2006 with the launch of “Google Apps for Your Domain”, a bundle of services that included email, a calendar, Google Talk, and a website building tool. Beta users were offered the service at no cost, complete with the ability to use a custom domain if users let Google handle their MX record.

    The service evolved over the years and added more services, and in 2020 Google rebranded its online productivity offering as “Workspace”. Beta users got most of the updated offerings at no cost.

    Continue reading
  • GNU Compiler Collection adds support for China's LoongArch CPU family
    MIPS...ish is on the march in the Middle Kingdom

    Version 12.1 of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) was released this month, and among its many changes is support for China's LoongArch processor architecture.

    The announcement of the release is here; the LoongArch port was accepted as recently as March.

    China's Academy of Sciences developed a family of MIPS-compatible microprocessors in the early 2000s. In 2010 the tech was spun out into a company callled Loongson Technology which today markets silicon under the brand "Godson". The company bills itself as working to develop technology that secures China and underpins its ability to innovate, a reflection of Beijing's believe that home-grown CPU architectures are critical to the nation's future.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022