February 11, 2020 / 3:48 AM / in 11 days

Japan says defence data possibly breached after cyberattacks on Mitsubishi Electric

A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. Capitalizing on spying tools believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency, hackers staged a cyber assault with a self-spreading malware that has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese defence ministry said late on Monday that sensitive data on defence equipment may have been breached as a result of cyberattacks on Mitsubishi Electric Corp, a major supplier of the country’s defence and infrastructure systems.

The company has told the ministry that potentially stolen data included requirements for defence equipment that the ministry specified for contract bidders in October 2018, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it was still in the process of investigating the security impact of the potential leak. Mitsubishi Electric did not win the contract in the auction.

Mitsubishi Electric initially denied the possibility of a breach of sensitive defence and infrastructure data when it first reported on the 200-megabyte cyberattacks by a third party on Jan. 20.

But subsequent checks at the company revealed that the defence ministry’s information that required special care was included in data potentially stolen by the attacks, Mitsubishi Electric said in a separate statement on Monday.

The company has said it first discovered the cyberattacks in June last year, more than half a year before it disclosed them to the public.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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