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Remarks for Special Issue on Cybersecurity

SAKAI Kazuhiro
Executive Vice President, CIO and CISO

We have entered an era where hardly a day passes without the word “cybersecurity” appearing in the newspaper, on TV, and in other media. Cyberattacks and cybercrimes have wreaked havoc in the world around us. From theft of personal and confidential information, to tampering with websites, illegal remittances, stolen identities, and much, much more, cybercrime impacts virtually every aspect of our lives. Perhaps even more disturbing, cyberattacks have begun targeting our public infrastructure - including electric grids, factories, and hospitals, posing a serious threat to public safety.

We are now witnessing a situation where cyberattacks have outgrown the domain of the isolated basement-dwelling nerd and are now professionalized attacks. In other words, cyberattacks are now dominated by state-run cyberwarfare and cyberterrorism, while cybercrime is mostly perpetrated by criminal organizations.

The Japanese government is no exception in regarding this situation as a serious public issue, as is clear from the enforcement of the Basic Act on Cybersecurity and the establishment of the Cybersecurity Strategy. Government efforts to combat this problem include security measures for governmental organizations and critical infrastructure, increasing the number and quality of cybersecurity personnel who are constantly in demand, and awareness-raising for corporate management by formulating Cybersecurity Management Guidelines.

NEC’s commitment to cybersecurity started in the 1990s, as the Internet began to grow popular among the general public. We launched our in-house Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) in the early stages of this popularization. Since then, the CSIRT has dealt with critical security issues on many occasions. We have built advanced systems such as firewalls to protect against external intrusion, cyberattack defense mechanisms to cope with the proliferation of malware, and information leakage prevention platforms. Before offering these systems to our customers, we have always first verified their effectiveness by implementing them ourselves.

In recent years, we have been focusing on the enhancement of information, technology and human resources in order to strengthen our cybersecurity capabilities. With respect to information gathering, we have participated in Japan Cybercrime Control Center (JC3) and are promoting industrial, governmental, and academic cooperation. Furthermore, we are making efforts to acquire threat intelligence- cybersecurity intelligence - through collaboration with organizations and vendors in Japan and overseas. On the technology front, we are developing leading-edge solutions utilizing software defined networking (SDN) and artificial intelligence (AI). As for human resources, we are endeavoring - both inside and outside our company - to train and recruit cybersecurity-dedicated personnel, of whom there is a shortage, and to improve the competence of all engineers.

In this special issue, as part of NEC’s commitment to helping customers achieve the best possible cybersecurity, we will introduce our efforts to ensure cybersecurity and the solutions we have to offer to our customers, as well the cutting-edge technologies developed by NEC that support those efforts. We will also discuss our commitment to “Security by Design”, which means providing our customers with systems, products, and services that ensure reliability, as well as training in-house personnel.

We hope this special issue sheds new light on the often mysterious world of cybercrime and cyberwarfare, and helps you better understand the threat posed by these new forms of crime and how best to combat them. We look forward to receiving your continued support and encouragement. Thank you very much.