Major Japanese university server sites hacked

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Servers at the University of Tokyo and four other major universities in Japan have apparently been attacked by hackers, resulting in leaks of IDs and passwords to databases at those schools, it has been learned.

A group of hackers identifying itself as “Ghost Shell” released a statement on Oct. 1, saying it has leaked some 120,000 pieces of information from 100 universities across the globe — including Harvard University and the University of Cambridge. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has launched an investigation into the domestic cases following consultations from the targeted universities. The group was apparently influenced by the international hacking group “Anonymous,” according to the Cabinet Office.

Aside from the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Tohoku University, Nagoya University and Osaka City University have complained of hacking attacks.

According to the University of Tokyo, the names and e-mail addresses of the school’s personnel are believed to have been leaked outside. Nagoya University said the server of the Green Mobility Collaborative Research Center, which is run by the School of Engineering, was apparently illegally accessed, resulting in possible leaks of the server administrator’s ID and the e-mail addresses of clients. The damage came to light on Oct. 2 following an on-campus report. Other universities are also assessing damage.

At Osaka City University, information leaks emerged upon a report from an information security organization on Oct. 3. The school said theses by students of the Graduate School for Creative Cities were illegally accessed. “We assume our school was mistaken for Osaka University,” said the school’s public relations representative.

“The server that we had been using until three years ago was likely accessed illicitly, but since the server does not contain personal information, we assume there should be no damage,” said a public relations official at Tohoku University.

In the past, Ghost Shell is said to have unleashed online attacks on the U.S. government. The group has criticized educational systems around the world and claimed that it leaked information in order to call attention to its cause.

October 04, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

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