Japan has set up a task force to battle Anonymous and potential cyber-espionage attacks.
The move follows online protests by the hacktivist group against Japan's new law against illegal downloads on June 22. The Finance Ministry was forced to suspend one of its websites on 26 June after it "had been alerted that some of the content had been falsified", The Asahi Shimbun reports. The websites for the Supreme Court and the Intellectual Property High Court were left temporarily inaccessible as a result of the same string of attacks, which are been blamed on a newly established chapter of Anonymous (anonymous-jp.com).
In response, the Japanese government has established a Cyber Incident Mobile Assistant Team task force, initially containing 24 members. The team will be tasked with providing assistance to government departments and key infrastructure firms against cyber-attacks by both hacktivists and (potentially) foreign governments. Both Japanese defense contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency warned of a series of cyber-espionage style attacks against their systems last year.
For now, however, the priority seems to be combating hacktivists, some of who are aligning themselves with street demonstrations against the re-start of Japan's nuclear power program, which was suspended in the wake of the Fukushima tsunami-related meltdown last year.
OpTepco protests against nuclear power are taking place as the earlier OpJapan protests against file sharing have morphed into a campaign to win hearts and minds.
Activists plan to don Guy Fawkes masks before cleaning up the streets, literally. Operation Anonymous Cleaning Service (OpACS) also plan to hand out leaflets explaining their opposition to changes in Japan's copyright laws. Activists will be "cleaning instead of clicking" during the protest, due to take place in Tokyo on 7 July, as a statement by Anonymous Japan explains.
This operation is a cleanup activity in Japan.
We're planning an offline-meeting in suits and Guy Fawkes' masks. We will pick up garbage and hand out leaflets explaining what Anonymous is and why we are concerned: Anonymous is neither a group nor criminal. We are united citizens of the world who are concerned that our governments and the content industry are trying to take away our liberties on the internet.
But Anonymous means more than DDoS. We prefer constructive and productive solutions. Very few Japanese know why our concerns about the new copyright laws are valid and sincere, and the media is not showing the entire truth. We want to make our fellow citizens aware of the problem with a productive message.
The event will take place At July 7th, 10:00 AM in Shibuya, Tokyo. The destination of the cleaning operation will be announced soon.
We are Anonymous. And in this op, we will be cleaning instead of clicking. Expect Us.
Cyberwarzone has more on the activities of Anonymous, Japan to date in an article here.
The obligatory Anonymous YouTube on the copyright law protests is below. The group condemns plans to amend Japanese copyright laws to impose sentences of up to two years imprisonments for illegal downloads as both unworkable and unfair. In addition, hacktivists argue that the entertainment industry is pushing ISPs to use deep packet inspection technology to police Japanese internet use, posing a broader threat to online privacy in the Land of the Rising Sun. ®