Posted on January 11, 2022 at 6:23 PM
Japanese consumer electronics giant Panasonic has confirmed that hackers accessed the personal data of job candidates in a recent cyberattack on its network. the company confirmed the attack in November last year, but recently updated on the incident after its investigation.
In the update, Panasonic noted that some personal details about candidates who participated in internships or applied for employment at some divisions of the company were accessed during the hacking incident. The tech giant stated that it has started notifying some of the affected persons.
“Panasonic Corporation has confirmed that its network was illegally accessed by a third party on November 11, 2021,” the firm stated.
The Incident Is Under Investigation
Panasonic added that some data on a file server were accessed during the breach. The incident has been reported to relevant authorities while the company has taken relevant security measures to prevent further access to its network.
Panasonic has also tendered an apology to its customers and others who have been affected by the data breach.
When contacted, the company’s spokesperson, Dannea DeLisser, did not comment on the nature of information accessed or the number of people that were affected.
Panasonic also noted that the attack started on June 22 and continued until November 3, but was detected 8 days later.
The hackers, who are yet to be identified, secured files containing unspecified “business-related information” from its partners as well as their personnel.
Shortly after the attack, Panasonic started an investigation with the assistance of an external security advisor. Based on the information, a third-partly had illegal access to the file server in Japan through the server of its overseas subsidiary.
The company noted after it detected unauthorized access to the server, it added more security measures to protect the entire system from major impact. These measures included strengthening server access monitoring, resetting relevant passwords, and accessing controls from overseas locations.
Japanese outlets, including NHK and Mainichi, also confirmed that the threat actors accessed Panasonic’s servers between June and November last year, as reported by The Record.
The breach that affected Panasonic’s server in November came only a few months after its subsidiary in India suffered a ransomware attack. During the incident, hackers stole 4 gigabytes of data, including email addresses and financial information.
Hackers Pounce On Japanese Companies
Threat actors have intensified their hacking activities on Japanese companies. The attack on Panasonic is the latest of a series of threat actions against these companies, including Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Kawasaki, as well as defense contractors Pasco and Kobe Steel. Some of them have confirmed security breaches and data loss, in some cases, on their network.
In the data breach on Japanese manufacturer Murata, thousands of files containing employees’ bank account information were leaked in June last year.
At the time, Chief Executive Officer of Murata, Norio Nakajima, released a statement apologizing for the intrusion.
The files contained more than 30,000 documents containing business partner information such as company name, phone numbers, address, bank account numbers, and email addresses.
The companies were based in the EU, Malaysia, the US, Philippines, China, and Japan. However, the enterprises with stolen customer information were only from the Philippines and China.
More than 41,000 employee documents were also leaked, with similar contents like names, bank account details, and addresses. The affected employees were based in the US, EU, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, and China.
Japanese Agencies Are Also Targets
Apart from Japanese companies, Japanese agencies have also suffered a series of attacks in the past. In May last year, Fujitsu’s “ProjectWEB” information sharing tool was attacked, leading to the exposure of several Japanese government agencies that use the tool.
ProjectWEB is a cloud-based enterprise file-sharing platform. Following the attack on the platform, the Japanese IT equipment and services company was forced to discontinue the use of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.
According to the report by Fujitsu, the threat actors had unauthorized access to the network and stole customer data. Following an investigation into the hacking activity, it was discovered that several government agencies were affected.
The investigation also revealed that it was a software supply chain attack similar to the attack on the Orion network last year. The report also noted that the attack impacted the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat, Tourism, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Tourism, as well as the Narita International Airport.
According to a report by the National Cyber Security Center (NISC), the threat actors had access to more than 76,000 email addresses and email system settings during the attack on Fujitsu.