A total of 88 Japanese public companies and their subsidiaries saw their customer’s personal information compromised or stolen in 2020. This the highest number since 2012 when such data began being collected, according to a survey by Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd. Researches say personal data of over 25 million people were compromised.
In 2020, a spike in hacker activity left Japanese companies are scrambling to strengthen their cybersecurity and many found themselves unprepared.
“There is a possibility of companies failing to take sufficient security measures,” said Masayo Fujimoto, a professor at the Institute of Information Security in Yokohama-City.
About half of the total cybersecurity cases reported in the survey related to computer viruses and unauthorized access. Companies affected by ransomware and malware included major brands such as Honda, Canon, Toto, Citizen watches, and Yaskawa Electric.
In December, PayPay Corp., a smartphone payment service provider, reported a server with data of all 2.6 million members was accessed by an unauthorized user. Over 20 million items of information such as the names of employees may have been compromised.
Earlier in November, the Japanese video game giant Capcom reported it was hit with a ransom demand of 1.1 billion yen in exchange for the stolen materials.
The big increase in ransomware attacks on Japanese companies in 2020 coincided with shifting to teleworking as a countermeasure against COVID-19. The pandemic made the companies more vulnerable to cybercriminals, and those didn’t miss their chance. Many experts believe the move to remote work may explain the surge in the number of cybercrime cases in which information was compromised.
According to international security firm CrowdStrike, their survey showed that over half of 200 Japanese companies, from the automotive and aviation to finance and healthcare sectors, reported ransomware cyberattacks.