(Updated on 3/6 with new Twitter comments)

In reaction to the increasing number of online fraud cases, Japan has been stepping up its efforts in the field of cybersecurity. For example, in 2018, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department created a new law enforcement unit with 500 agents devoted to tackling cybercrimes.

This heightened sensitivity may explain why police in Hyogo Prefecture decided to go after what they surely thought was a serious offense earlier this week.

According to an NHK report, on March 4th, Hyogo Prefectural Police discovered malware "posted" on a public online forum. Since the perpetrator was a minor, a 13-year-old girl from Aichi Prefecture in her first year of middle school, police admonished her severely for her actions. She had posted a link to a so-called "browser crasher" website causing a perpetually displaying pop-up screen to appear with the taunting message: "No matter how many times you try, you won't be able to close this."

When questioned by police, the girl admitted: "I had some problems in the past, so I thought it would be amusing if someone clicked on it." It would seem that her attempt to enjoy schadenfreude was a threat to public security.

Perhaps bolstered by their victory in apprehending the young miscreant, Hyogo Prefectual Police also located two other incidents of malicious link-posting leading to the same website, one by a 39-year-old unemployed man in Yamaguchi Prefecture and another by a 47-year-old construction worker in Kagoshima Prefecture. Police are planning on turning the two men over to the prosecutor's office in the near future.

Online reactions

Japanese Twitter users were mostly critical of Hyogo Prefectural Police's response to what in fact only amounts to a simple Javascript loop written in a few lines of code.

Here are a few tweets representing the major points that were brought up:

Excessive reaction

Deficient cyberliteracy

3/6 Update

Mariko Kosaka, affiliated with Google, gave her expert opinion on the matter and even offered to teach Hyogo Prefecture's finest about web browser security:

By - Ben K.