Mitsubishi Hacking Scare

Electric division confirms information leakage; suspects Chinese hacking group

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, one of Japan’s biggest defense and infrastructure contractors, confirmed this week it was victim of a hack that divulged sensitive information in those realms—by way of an employee’s compromised account, no less— in the summer of 2019. The Tokyo-based electrical corporation says it believes the attack was orchestrated by Chinese-linked cyber-espionage group Tick, or Bronze Butler.

Mitsubishi released a brief statement Monday confirming the information breach. It noted that areas of social infrastructure including defense, electric power, and railways were among those initially compromised and accessible, but were ultimately found not to have been leaked. The company performed an internal investigation, it says, during the interim since “recognizing suspicious behavior of the terminal” on June 28 of last year. The seven-month investigation also yielded that “personal information and corporate confidential information may have leaked outside.” The statement also contains an apology while asserting that “no damage or impact related to this matter has been confirmed.”

Read full statement below:

“January 20, 2020

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

Regarding the possibility of information leakage due to unauthorized access: It was confirmed that our network was subject to unauthorized access by a third party, and that personal information and corporate confidential information may have leaked outside. After recognizing the suspicious behavior of the terminal on June 28 last year, we took measures such as immediately restricting external access. As a result of an internal investigation, it has been confirmed that sensitive information on social infrastructure such as defense, electric power, and railways, highly confidential technical information, and important information concerning business partners have not been leaked. To date, no damage or impact related to this matter has been confirmed. We deeply apologize for causing such anxiety and inconvenience to those concerned and the customers involved.”

The incident is being treated with stringent measures, considering Mitsubishi’s contracts with the Japanese defense department and those with crucial national infrastructure projects. Before going public with the news on Monday, Mitsubishi had also notified members of the Japanese government and Ministry of Defense, according to local newspaper Mainichi.

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