Japan reeling following hack of 1.25 million pensions

The Japanese government is reeling following a hack that exposed the pension data of 1.25 million Japanese citizens.

Officials on Tuesday tried to caution the public that the number of breached records could rise, while also assuring them that their pensions were secure.

{mosads}“We will make every effort to keep this from causing inconvenience to those whose data was leaked and to review the issue and take preventive measures,” the top aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, told reporters, Reuters reported.

The breach comes less than two days after Japanese and U.S. defense officials vowed tighter cybersecurity coordination to help defend each other’s networks and military bases from digital attacks.

Japanese Pension Service officials said the breach occurred after hackers infiltrated the system through an virus contained in an email link, commonly known as a phishing attack. The digital thieves made off with names, birth dates, addresses, and pension identification numbers.

The incident has resembles a 2007 scandal in which government record keepers admitted to losing 50 million records of pension premium payments. The fallout eventually caused Abe to resign from his first term, before he returned to office in 2012.

Abe’s approval ratings in Japan are high at the moment, and it’s unclear whether the new pension breach could again hurt his political standing.

“On the other hand, even though his support levels are still relatively high, his policies are not widely supported,” Sophia University professor Koichi Nakano told Reuters. “It depends on how he is seen as coping.”

Abe’s opponents have pounced on the incident.

“This is a situation which undermines the foundations of livelihoods and shakes confidence in pensions,” Democratic Party executive Yoshiaki Takaki said, according to the Japanese Kyodo news outlet.

Abe is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, considered a conservative party in Japan.


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