Japan puts bounty on hackers

Japanese authorities have started putting bounties on the heads of hackers that they most want to have a word with.

Japan’s National Police Agency has been advertising for information on a hacker who can code in C#, uses a “Syberian Post Office” to make anonymous posts online, and knows how to surf the web without leaving any digital tracks.

According to Network Worldthe coppers are prepared to write a cheque for up to $36,000 for information that will lead to the hacker’s arrest. This is nearly enough to buy a cheeseburger in Tokyo.

But it is also a sign that Japan is starting to lose patience with hacking. Earlier this year four individuals were wrongly arrested after their PCs were hacked and used to post messages on public bulletin boards.

Messages included warnings of plans for mass killings at a local school.

A police spokesperson was quoted in the Japanese press as saying that until now this type of reward was reserved for cases involving crimes like murder and arson.

A reward poster, posted online, includes detailed technical descriptions of the wanted hacker’s skills.

The hacker had to be able to know C# to create a virus called “iesys.exe” and using an anonymous posting method called a “Syberian Post Office” to post messages to popular Japanese bulletin board 2channel.

The police believe that the attacker used a cross-site request forgery to make online postings via innocent users.

Japan’s National Police Agency is a bit like the FBI but its role is more focused on working with and organising local police forces. It does not tend to arrest people.