Beijing: The websites of at least 19 Japanese banks, universities and other institutions have been attacked after the country nationalized the Senkaku Islands, despite objections from China and Taiwan, the National Police Agency said.
The NPA said the electronic attacks have made accessing the sites temporarily impossible with some of the attackers also altering the content on the sites. An NPA official said the attacks appear to be originating in China, judging by the fact that more than half of the sites were singled out for attack on the bulletin boards of Chinese hacking groups or in major chat sites.
According to the Japan Times, the Tokyo Institute of Technology said the website of its Center for the Study of World Civilization was hacked to expose personal data on 1,068 people who had taken part in events at the center. Although the university could not verify the website attack was linked to the protests that have broken out over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, it said the main page was covered with images of the Chinese flag. The university has, meanwhile, shut down the site.
The attacks appeared to be ‘distributed denial of service’ attacks, in which a website’s server is flooded with so many access requests over a short span of time that access becomes impossible, Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said. On Sunday afternoon, when the attacks were most intense, 95 percent of traffic to the bureau’s website was coming from China, Minister Tatsuo Kawabata said. The targets of the attacks included the Defense Ministry’s site, which saw its homepage defaced by the addition of a Chinese flag.
A raft of posts on a major Chinese chat site meanwhile said, "Don`t invade Diaoyu," and called for cyber-attacks on Japan. Police and other authorities are investigating the attacks on suspicion of obstruction of business and illegal computer access, the report added.