Mitsubishi breached by suspected Chinese hackers

The electronics giant is one of Japan’s key defence and infrastructure contractors

Japanese electronics and manufacturing titan Mitsubishi announced it has detected evidence of a cyber attack in which attackers allegedly stole around 200MB of internal business documents from a number of PCs and servers.

The attack took place more than six months ago on 28 June last year, according to a short statement posted to the company’s website, and involved the theft of personal information and confidential corporate data.

Concerns have been raised as to the consequences of the attack, due to Mitsubishi’s close ties to the Japanese government. The company holds a number of key contracts within Japan’s national infrastructure and defence sectors, but Mitsubishi has denied that any sensitive information relating to these areas was leaked.

According to Japan’s Nikkei newspaper, sources involved in the investigation into the breach suggest that ‘Tick’ - a hacking group with suspected links to China that has attacked a series of Japanese defence, satellite and aerospace companies - may be behind the attack. 

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The attack on Mitsubishi’s network has been traced back to a single compromised account belonging to an employee of one of the company’s China-based affiliates, according to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which was then used to infiltrate the internal networks and compromise machines belonging to a number of middle managers throughout various divisions.

Along with the data stolen as part of the initial breach, the attack could be used to launch supply-chain attacks against Mitsubishi’s corporate customers and partners; a tactic that has become increasingly popular in recent years.

Mitsubishi has apologised for the inconvenience caused to anyone affected by the incident.

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