Japanese electronics manufacturer, NEC, reportedthat back in 2016 was compromised. Representatives of the company admitted this only after a series of publications in Japanese media: journalists learned about the incident from their own sources and accused NEC of trying to keep silent about the incident.
As officially confirmed now, the hacking occurred in December 2016. Moreover, NEC claims that compromise was discovered only in June 2017, when company employees finally noticed suspicious encrypted traffic coming from one of the internal systems.
Specialists could decrypt this traffic only in July 2018. According to the results of the investigation, the attacker managed to steal 27,445 files belonging to the defense orders department. NEC assures that these files did not contain important details about defense projects, personal information of employees or business partners. All affected parties were notified of the violation in the same 2018.
Interestingly, NEC was already the second Japanese defense contractor this month to admit to being subjected to a cyber attack. Let me remind you that the first was the Mitsubishi Electric company, which in 2019 was attacked through a vulnerability in the Trend Micro antivirus. According to unofficial data, this attack was sponsored by the state-sponsored Chinese cyber-espionage group Tick.
More interestingly, Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono said during press conferencesthat Mitsubishi Electric and NEC are just two of four Japanese defense contractors hacked between 2016 and 2018. The minister did not disclose the names of two other affected companies.