Sep 02, 2016

    Japan plans firewall for home electronics


    THE Japanese communications ministry will develop a "protective wall" to safeguard home electronics connected to the Internet from cyber-attacks.

    There has been a growing number of cases in which such devices are hacked and used as a base for cyber-attacks.

    The ministry plans to build a protective wall on the Internet to prevent unauthorised operation of the devices and stop them being infected with viruses, according to sources.

    In cooperation with electronics makers and telecommunications carriers, it aims to put the system into practical use within a year or two.

    It is difficult to improve the security of home electronics such as televisions, security cameras and routers by upgrading their software.

    The ministry plans to build a system in which access to all consumer devices via the Internet must go through a protective wall.

    Any unauthorised communication will be blocked.

    If there is a security problem, a warning will be issued.

    Research firm IHS Technology estimated that there will be about 53 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices around the world in 2020, more than triple the figure in 2013.

    Among the confirmed cyber-attacks in Japan last year, 26 per cent of them targeted IoT devices.

    There will likely be various problems if IoT devices at home are hacked and remotely operated. For example, unauthorised users could peep inside a targeted home through a security camera.

    They can also tamper with temperature settings of refrigerators to cause foods to perish.

    They can also attack a website by using home electronics they have hacked as a base and make the owners appear as the "attackers".

    According to a survey by Yokohama National University last year, there were more than 300 kinds of IoT devices that had been hacked and used as a base to launch cyber-attacks.