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Japan to upgrade cyber defence and welcome preemptive measures – Free Malaysia Today

TOKYO: Japan is set to establish a legal framework that will allow for enhanced measures to defend itself in cyberspace, Nikkei has learned.
The government aims to make legislative changes so it can begin monitoring potential attackers and hack their systems as soon as signs of a potential risk are established.
Current laws make it extremely hard for such measures to be triggered unless after an emergency, which would require Japanese defence forces being deployed after a military attack.
The plan is highlighted in an overview of proposed National Security Strategy revisions, which were submitted to the ruling coalition on Saturday. The revisions are poised to be approved by the cabinet before the end of the month.
Other countries have similar laws allowing governments to launch cyber attacks to destroy foreign systems when suspicious activities are detected.
As the frequency and scale of cyber attacks increase across the globe, the government says it sees an urgent need to align laws with the times.
The move is expected to be a turning point for Japan’s cyber defence, which is limited due to the interpretation of the country’s constitution and laws relating to the use of force, as well as privacy concerns.
The changes will allow the government to defend private sector infrastructures such as power grids and financial networks.
It also has potential to open the door for Japan to retaliate in cyberspace and neutralise attackers.
After the cabinet approves the documents, the ruling coalition in January will debate the matter to amend existing laws and create new ones.
The documents state Japan will strengthen cyber defence “to a level equal to major Western powers.”
Provisions include introducing an “active cyber defence,” which gives the green light to stop harmful software before it causes serious damage.
In these cases, authorities will foresee a situation where national security is threatened – such as damage to vital infrastructure – even though there is no use of force.
According to the plan, Japan’s cabinet cyber security centre will be re-organised to take charge of national cyber defence.
The plan also aims to strengthen government support to defend infrastructure currently entrusted to private companies. However, sources say, the extent to which the government can intervene needs to be considered carefully as not to violate international laws.
The National Security Strategy is being revised for the first time since it was established in December 2013 to respond to a changing geopolitical landscape, most notably a more assertive China and rising tensions surrounding a possible Taiwan crisis.
Other changes in the strategy include increasing the defence budget and acquiring counterattack capability to strike enemy missile launch sites, among others.
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