Critical Infrastructure

The Japanese government has announced its plan to create an agency that will help protect the nation’s critical infrastructure against cyber-attacks.

Sources told The Yomiuri Shimbun that the organization, which has been tentatively named the “Industrial Cybersecurity Promotion Agency,” will function as an extra-governmental body affiliated with the Economy, Trade, and Industry Ministry.

Funded in part by private companies, the agency will consist of two divisions.

The first will be responsible for developing human resources and responding to situations. Staff members in that department will hire and train white hat hackers, and they will also set up a system by which the Japanese government can respond to cyber-attacks against individual industrial operators.

The second division will cooperate with universities, research institutions, and other cyber security agencies located all over the world to research real-world attacks and conduct exercises in the digital realm.

Together, those two departments are expected to advance the Japanese government’s R&D and talent acquisition in information security. Japan also plans to use the agency to test its preparedness for an attack that may occur prior to or during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

At this time, the country has yet to specify the agency’s scope of authority, though it is set to allocate budget for its creation over the next year.

Japan intends to include operators of critical infrastructure such as electricity and gas in the agency. It is also considering inviting agencies in the defense industry as well as implementing mandatory training at the agency for employees who work at companies with a high level of public responsibility.

News of this announcement comes just a few weeks after a Japanese ambassador offered to provide financial, advisory, and expertise assistance to Ukraine following an attack involving BlackEnergy malware that caused a power outage in the eastern European nation around Christmas last year.