Japanese cybersecurity chief does not compute


A Japanese minister with responsibility for cybersecurity has admitted he doesn’t know how to use a computer.

Yoshitaka Sakurada was appointed to the cabinet last month, and serves as deputy chief of the government’s cybersecurity strategy office.

But when questioned by opposition politicians earlier this week, the man who is supposed to oversee national policies on reducing the risk of cyberattack admitted he’s never actually touched a computer.

“I don’t use computers because since I was 25 I have been in a position of authority where secretaries and employees handle such tasks for me,” The Japan Times reported him as saying.

He is also said to have demurred when asked for details on how the country’s nuclear power plants are being protected from cybercriminals.

His comments did not impress Democratic Party politician Masato Imai, who said it was “unbelievable that someone who has not touched computers is responsible for cybersecurity policies”.

South-east Asian countries’ defences against cyberattacks have been identified as a key concern in recent years. In 2016, a Kyodo News survey suggested there had been 12.6 million cases of personal information being hacked that year – meaning one in 10 people had been affected, and representing a sixfold increase from the year before.

And in July this year, information on 1.5 million patients was stolen from Singapore’s largest public healthcare provider.

Affected SingHealth patients included the country’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, who in a lengthy Facebook post at the time said he had personally been affected.

“The attackers targeted my own medication data,” he said, “specifically and repeatedly”.

Last month, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that the 2017 WannaCry attack – which affected one third of NHS trusts – cost the NHS £20m during the outbreak and an additional £72m in the aftermath.

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