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Bank of Japan preaches cyber attack vigilance ahead of Olympics

Financial institutions believe cyber threats have increased by 70% over three years

Japan's financial institutions must remain "vigilant" to cyber attacks ahead of the 2020 Tokyo games, the country's main bank has warned.

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) said that progress in digital technology has led to a sharp rise in cyber attacks on financial institutions. 

In a survey conducted by the BOJ in September, nearly 40% of respondents said they had experienced cyber attacks and more than 10% had their business disrupted as a result. 

Of the 402 financial institutions surveyed, over 70% believe cyber threats have increased since 2017, with 60% stating they were not able to secure enough staff to oversee measures to deal with cyber threats. 

The country's capital Tokyo will host the 29th Olympic Games over July and August where technology is set to play a big role. It's said to be the most innovative event ever, according to the Tokyo 2020 website, with "futuristic" robotic mascots and a range of IoT services. 

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Just days before the South Korean Winter Olympics in 2018, officials confirmed the events IT systems had been infected with malware. The attack, which took down display monitors, Wi-Fi networks and even the official website for the event, was almost immediately attributed to groups linked to North Korea, Russia and China. 

A few months later Kaspersky said it had found evidence of source code that looked identical to previous work by the Lazarus Group, an organisation with ties to North Korea. 

This will be the second time the games will be staged in Tokyo, but the world and the threat landscape has drastically changed since it last hosted the games in 1964. 

"Progress in digital technology has led to a sharp increase in cyber-security risks for financial institutions," the BOJ said in the survey, according to Reuters. "Cyber-attacks may increase ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this year, which is a risk we must be vigilant too."

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