[ISN] Tests show hackers could access resident registry network

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Thu Oct 02 2003 - 22:40:09 PDT

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    Mainichi Shimbun
    Japan, Oct. 2, 2003
    NAGANO -- Hackers could easily obtain private information kept in the
    controversial resident registry network, a test has found.
    The Nagano Prefectural Government has been trying to hack into the Big
    Brother system in an apparent bid to use the results as the basis for
    justifying its withdrawal from the network.
    "I have been informed that experts are analyzing the results," Nagano
    Gov. Yasuo Tanaka. "We are carefully handling the results because the
    test involves private information."
    Sources from the prefectural government said they would announce the
    test results after experts have finished their analysis.
    After hearing the results of Nagano's experiments, local governments
    also voiced fears of leakages.
    Hiroshi Yamada, mayor of Tokyo's Suginami-ku who has said citizens
    would only be asked to join the network on a voluntary basis, quickly
    reacted to Nagano's test.
    "We will confirm the results of the Nagano experiment and take
    counter-measures as soon as possible," Yamada said. Suginami-ku is
    planning to send the registration procedures for the network to all
    residents, but officials said they now may possibly postpone the plan
    or even give it up.
    Hiroshi Nakada, mayor of Yokohama, which also allows citizens to join
    on a voluntary basis, said either the national government or local
    municipalities had to think about anti-hacking measures.
    "I now know that residents' information cannot be kept inside the
    Yokohama Municipal Government," Nakada said.
    Nagano officials began the hacking test on Sept. 22 after obtaining
    the approval of three local municipalities such as Achi to avoid
    violating the law banning illegal access to online networks.
    During the test to hack into the three municipal resident registry
    host computers, they learned that hackers could have conditional
    access to registered citizens' information.
    Hackers can even alter information kept in the host computers, the
    sources said.
    About 800 municipalities connect their resident registry system to the
    Internet through this local online network.
    An official of the Ministry of Public Management that supervises the
    nationwide resident registry system tried to calm uncertainty over the
    controversial results.
    "I think only some vulnerable access routes have been found," the
    official said. "Municipalities have different types of firewalls
    (designed to protect the online network from hacking). I don't think
    the test results will threaten the safety of the entire resident
    registry network."
    Hiroko Uehara, mayor of Kunitachi in the suburbs of Tokyo that refuses
    to be part of the system, said that just one vulnerable point could
    collapse an online network.
    "I think Nagano did a good test. The results helped people understand
    that the system is not safe," Uehara said.
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