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Japan Authorizes IoT Hacking

A new campaign will see government employees hacking into personal IoT devices to identify those at highest security risk.

A new law in Japan allows the nation's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) to hack into citizens' personal IoT equipment as part of a survey of vulnerable devices. The survey is part of an effort to strengthen Japan's network of Internet of Things devices ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.

The survey will begin in February with a trial run of 200 million Web cams and modems. NICT employees will attempt to log into the devices using default account names and passwords, and when they find a vulnerable device, they will alert the ISP and local authorities so the device owner can be contacted and given security recommendations.

While authorities have logged into IoT devices found to have been recruited into botnets and involved in offensive activities, this is the first time a national government has authorized such tactics in a prophylactic effort.

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