Five major colleges in Japan, including the University of Tokyo, have had their websites hacked and student data stolen. A hacking group calling itself “Ghost Shell” has already claimed responsibility for the act, along with attacking more than 100 other universities around the globe, says Japan’s Ministry of Education. The group is said to have connections to “Anonymous,” an international collective known for hacking and attacks on government and corporate websites in the name of activism, so could this be a response to Japan’s recently passed law that punishes illegal downloads with prison time?
In addition to Tokyo, the other schools attacked were Kyoto University, Tohoku University, Nagoya University, and Osaka City University, all reporting the leak of IDs and passwords for students and faculty, and the illegal access to secure parts of their websites. In their statement made October 1st, Ghost Shell says they have leaked roughly 120,000 pieces of information, and claim Harvard University and the University of Cambridge among those around the globe they have successfully attacked.
In June, when the new illegal downloads law was passed, those belonging to Anonymous defaced the Japanese government’s Ministry of Finance websites, altering pages to protest the law’s harsh punishments. Shortly after, Anonymous organized a different kind of peaceful protest, gathering in the streets of downtown Tokyo in order to pick up litter and hand out pamphlets on why people should be concerned about the law. Those convicted of downloading illegal or copyright infringing material can face up to two years in prison and a fine of 2 million yen (approx. $25,600).