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Japan to check 200M devices for security risks as 2020 Olympics nears

A government institute will randomly try to sign into devices using common passwords but won't actually break in.


The Tokyo 2020 Olympics already has its mascots: Miraitowa (left) and Someity. Security preparations are underway too.

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Japan is ramping up cybersecurity as it plans for the summer Olympics next year in Tokyo.

The government's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology will survey about 200 million internet-connected devices in Japan for potential security vulnerabilities starting in February, Channel News Asia reported this week. The institute will get the permission of internet service providers to do the work.

Researchers will randomly try to break into devices by using common but unsafe IDs and passwords often exploited by malware such as "abcd," "1234" or "admin" to see whether devices are vulnerable to hackers, Channel News Asia reported.    

The gadgets will include routers, webcams and web-connected appliances in homes and businesses -- mostly devices that use physical cables to connect to the internet. Mobile phones won't be included. 

ISPs will be notified if a device is deemed vulnerable to risks. The institute won't view the data stored on devices it's able to break into, according to the publication. 

Sporting events have been vulnerable to cyberattacks in the past. The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea fell victim to a hacking campaign last February.