Japan Is Going to Start Hacking Its Citizens

The government is going to test over 200 million devices for security vulnerabilities ahead of the 2020 Olympics.

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Getty ImagesThomas Trutschel

If you have any smart appliance, like a connected thermostat or Wi-Fi security camera, chances are it's extremely hackable. Internet of Things devices tend to have such poor security that your best bet, if data privacy is your number one concern, is to instead buy the dumbest appliances you can find. But for people in Japan who bought smart devices anyway, their government is going to .

Starting next month, employees of Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology will travel the country, trying to gain access to citizens’ most vulnerable electronics. These employees will use default passwords and lists of commonly used passwords to probe some 200 million IoT devices.

The survey will start with the most commonly hacked devices, which are routers and webcams. The government hackers will try to gain access to these devices in both home and business networks. If they’re successful, then they’ll notify users and internet service providers about the vulnerability.

This initiative is likely related to the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games, which will be held in Tokyo. The Japanese government has been embracing all kinds of novel security ideas for the upcoming games, including widespread facial recognition technology. This is likely an effort by the government to prevent any widespread hacking attempts during the games themselves.

Bad cat stole bitcoins
The Japanese government is trying to preempt hacking attempts by cybercriminals.
Getty Imagesiridi

If you don’t live in Japan, the bad news is there’s no one to test if your home devices are hackable. The good news is there’s an easy solution to potentially being hacked: just don’t buy a smart anything.

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