An international hacking group by the name of Anonymous has been actively increasing cyber-attacks in Japan since September.
Last autumn, a number of government websites and other sites came under attack. However, the recent attacks are different from sophisticated cyber-attacks that aim to steal information. Experts have been advising people to calmly take necessary steps in advance.
On the night of September 13, the website of the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims became inaccessible. Shortly, the hacker group took the responsibility of the attack and posted that the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks was launched to protest dolphin hunting.
An official at the memorial hall said in bewilderment, “We have nothing to do with dolphin hunting.”
A series of anonymous attacks are believed to have started around 2013 by the name of Operation Killing Bay to protest against Japan’s whale hunting and the annual dolphin hunts in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture. Last year, DDoS attacks made their entry into government websites and infrastructure operators like airports where the websites remained unavailable by sending a huge amount of data to the server.
Police have confirmed that no cyber-attack related website problem was reported from May to August but 29 incidents were confirmed in September, followed by 26 in October. From November 01 to November 27, there were 53 cases, bringing the total from September to November 27 to 108. In December alone, these incidents rose to 56.
“Their aim is not to make websites unavailable, but to promote their presence,” said Nobuhiro Tsuji, senior security researcher at SoftBank Technology Corp.
When Anonymous started around 2006, it advocated the establishment of the freedom of the internet and made political appeals through legally permitted activities such as street demonstrations. Currently, however, Anonymous tends to carry out cyber-attacks with the aid of unknown individuals who respond to invitations on Twitter and other websites. Participants are increasingly committing cyber-attacks for fun.
Though the main DDoS attack cannot be defended but measures have recently been developed to mitigate damage.
Some observers point out that such cyber-attack could increase ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
It is advisable that companies and individuals remain calm and if attacked, they should respond thoughtfully without overreacting