Japanese Electronics Giant NEC Discloses Old Data Breach


Japanese IT and electronics company NEC Corporation has revealed that hackers had access to its network for a long time, but the incident occurred several years ago.

Although it implemented cybersecurity measures that included an “unknown malware detection system,” the company was unable to detect the initial intrusion, which occurred sometime after December 2016.

The attack, NEC says, was initially discovered in July 2017, when a report from the security company contracted by the electronics giant revealed unauthorized communications between computers on the internal network and external entities.

Further compromise was discovered in July 2018, after the company successfully decrypted unauthorized communications between an internal server and an external machine.

A total of 27,445 files were accessed by the attackers, but the company says an investigation into the incident has revealed that no information was leaked.

“These files do not contain confidential information or personal information. In addition, since July 2018, the situation has been individually explained to customers related to files that have been accessed illegally,” the company said.

The electronics manufacturer says it has taken steps to prevent such incidents in the future and it plans on further strengthening its cyber-security posture through incident response, sensitive information management, and improved early detection and response systems.

NEC is the second multinational electronics company in Japan to disclose a data breach after Mitsubishi Electric announced last week that a network intrusion resulted in both personal and corporate information being stolen.

Mitsubishi was supposedly hacked via a zero-day vulnerability in Trend Micro’s OfficeScan product, with the attackers stealing 200MB worth of files, including employment application information on 1,987 people, employee information on 4,566 people, and information on 1,569 retired employees of affiliated companies.

Related: Trend Micro OfficeScan Flaw Apparently Exploited in Mitsubishi Electric Hack

Related: Equifax Ordered to Spend $1 Billion on Data Security Under Data Breach Settlement

Related: P&N Bank Data Breach Exposes Trove of User Data

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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