Exclusive-Cyber attack disrupts major South African port operations

By Zandi Shabalala and Tanisha Heiberg

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A cyber attack disrupted container operations at the South African port of Cape Town, an email seen by Reuters on Thursday said.

Durban, the busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa, was also affected, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Cape Town Harbor Carriers Association said in an email to members, seen by Reuters: “Please note that the port operating systems have been cyber-attacked and there will be no movement of cargo until the system is restored.”

Transnet’s official website was down on Thursday showing an error message.

Transnet, which operates major South African ports, including Durban and Cape Town, and a huge railway network that transports minerals and other commodities for export, confirmed its IT applications were experiencing disruptions and it was identifying the cause.

It declined to comment on whether a cyber attack caused the disruption. The sources, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the press, said an attack occurred early on Thursday.

The state-owned company already suffered major disruptions to its ports and national freight rail line last week following days of unrest and violence in parts of the country.

The latest disruption has delayed containers and auto parts, but commodities were mostly be unaffected as they were in a different part of the port, one of the sources said.

It will also create backlogs that could take time to clear.

Transnet said its container terminals were disrupted while its freight rail, pipeline, engineering and property divisions reported normal activity.

Most of the copper and cobalt mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia, where miners such as Glencore and Barrick Gold operate, use Durban to ship cargo out of Africa.

(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala and Tanisha Heiberg; additional reporting by Helen Reid, editing by Susan Fenton, Pratima Desai and Barbara Lewis)

Colonial Pipeline CEO tells Senate cyber defenses were compromised ahead of hack

By Stephanie Kelly and Jessica Resnick-Ault

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Colonial Pipeline Chief Executive Joseph Blount told a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday that the company’s cyber defenses were in place, but were compromised ahead of an attack last month.

The hearing was convened to examine threats to critical infrastructure and the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack that shut the company’s major fuel conduits last month.

The hack, attributed by the FBI to a gang called DarkSide, caused a days-long shutdown that led to a spike in gasoline prices, panic buying and localized fuel shortages. It posed a major political headache for President Joe Biden as the U.S. economy was starting to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senators questioned whether Colonial was sufficiently prepared for a ransomware attack and the company’s timeline for responding to the attack. Some suggested Colonial had not sufficiently consulted with the U.S. government before paying the ransom against federal guidelines.

Colonial did not specifically have a plan for a ransomware attack, but did have an emergency response plan, Blount said. The company reached out to the FBI within hours of the cyber attack, he said.

“We take cybersecurity very seriously,” Blount said. Still, he said the attack occurred using a legacy VPN (Virtual Private Network) system that did not have multifactor authentication in place.

He said the system was protected with a complex password. “It wasn’t just Colonial123,” he said.

Blount said he made the decision to pay ransom, made the decision to keep the payment as confidential as possible because of concern for security.

“It was our understanding that the decision was solely ours to make about whether to pay the ransom,” he said.

However, he said even after getting the key, the company is still continuing to recover from the attack and is currently bringing back seven finance systems that have been offline since May 7, he said.

The Justice Department on Monday said it had recovered some $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline.

Colonial Pipeline previously had said it paid the hackers nearly $5 million to regain access. The value of the cryptocurrency bitcoin has dropped to below $35,000 in recent weeks after hitting a high of $63,000 in April.

Bitcoin seizures are rare, but authorities have stepped up their expertise in tracking the flow of digital money as ransomware has become a growing national security threat and put a further strain on relations between the United States and Russia, where many of the gangs are based.

(Reporting By Stephanie Kelly and Jessica Resnick-AultEditing by Marguerita Choy)

U.S. says ransomware attack on meatpacker JBS likely from Russia

By Tom Polansek and Jeff Mason

CHICAGO/ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) -The White House said on Tuesday that Brazil’s JBS SA has informed the U.S. government that a ransomware attack against the company that has disrupted meat production in North America and Australia originated from a criminal organization likely based in Russia.

JBS is the world’s largest meatpacker and the incident caused its Australian operations to shut down on Monday and has stopped livestock slaughter at its plants in several U.S. states.

The ransomware attack follows one last month by a group with ties to Russia on Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, that crippled fuel delivery for several days in the U.S. Southeast.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the United States has contacted Russia’s government about the matter and that the FBI is investigating.

“The White House has offered assistance to JBS and our team at the Department of Agriculture have spoken to their leadership several times in the last day,” Jean-Pierre said.

“JBS notified the administration that the ransom demand came from a criminal organization likely based in Russia. The White House is engaging directly with the Russian government on this matter and delivering the message that responsible states do not harbor ransomware criminals,” Jean-Pierre added.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

JBS sells beef and pork under the Swift brand, with retailers like Costco carrying its pork loins and tenderloins. JBS also owns most of chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride Co, which sells organic chicken under the Just Bare brand.

If the outages continue, consumers could see higher meat prices during summer grilling season in the United States and meat exports could be disrupted at a time of strong demand from China.

JBS said it suspended all affected systems and notified authorities. It said its backup servers were not affected.

“On Sunday, May 30, JBS USA determined that it was the target of an organized cybersecurity attack, affecting some of the servers supporting its North American and Australian IT systems,” the company said in a Monday statement.

“Resolution of the incident will take time, which may delay certain transactions with customers and suppliers,” the company’s statement said.

The company, which has its North American operations headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, controls about 20% of the slaughtering capacity for U.S. cattle and hogs, according to industry estimates.

“The supply chains, logistics, and transportation that keep our society moving are especially vulnerable to ransomware, where attacks on choke points can have outsized effects and encourage hasty payments,” said threat researcher John Hultquist with security company FireEye.

U.S. beef and pork prices are already rising as China increases imports, animal feed costs rise and slaughterhouses face a dearth of workers.

The cyberattack on JBS could push U.S. beef prices even higher by tightening supplies, said Brad Lyle, chief financial officer for consultancy Partners for Production Agriculture.

Any impact on consumers would depend on how long production is down, said Matthew Wiegand, a risk management consultant and commodity broker at FuturesOne in Nebraska.

“If it lingers for multiple days, you see some food service shortages,” Wiegand added.

Two kill and fabrication shifts were canceled at JBS’s beef plant in Greeley due to the cyberattack, representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 7 said in an email. JBS Beef in Cactus, Texas, also said on Facebook it would not run on Tuesday.

JBS Canada said in a Facebook post that shifts had been canceled at its plant in Brooks, Alberta, on Monday and one shift so far had been canceled on Tuesday.

A representative in Sao Paulo said the company’s Brazilian operations were not impacted.

‘FOOD SECURITY’

The United States Cattlemen’s Association, a beef industry group, said on Twitter that it had reports of JBS redirecting livestock haulers who arrived at plants with animals ready for slaughter.

Last year, cattle and hogs backed up on U.S. farms and some animals were euthanized when meat plants shut due to COVID-19 outbreaks among workers.

A JBS beef plant in Grand Island, Nebraska, said only workers in maintenance and shipping were scheduled to work on Tuesday due to the cyberattack.

U.S. congressman Rick Crawford, an Arkansas Republican, called for a bipartisan effort to secure food and cyber security in the wake of the cyberattack.

“Cyber security is synonymous with national security, and so is food security,” Crawford wrote on Twitter.

(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer, Tom Polansek, Mark Weinraub in Chicago; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason aboard Air Force One and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington, Ana Mano in Sao Paulo and Joe Menn in San Francisco; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Will Dunham and Nick Zieminski)

Microsoft says group behind SolarWinds hack now targeting government agencies, NGOs

By Kanishka Singh and Raphael Satter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The group behind the SolarWinds cyber attack identified late last year is now targeting government agencies, think tanks, consultants, and non-governmental organizations, Microsoft Corp said on Thursday.

“This week we observed cyberattacks by the threat actor Nobelium targeting government agencies, think tanks, consultants, and non-governmental organizations,” Microsoft said in a blog.

Nobelium, originating from Russia, is the same actor behind the attacks on SolarWinds customers in 2020, according to Microsoft.

The comments come weeks after a May 7 ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline shut the United States’ largest fuel pipeline network for several days, disrupting the country’s supply.

“This wave of attacks targeted approximately 3,000 email accounts at more than 150 different organizations,” Microsoft said on Thursday.

While organizations in the United States received the largest share of attacks, targeted victims came from at least 24 countries, Microsoft said.

At least a quarter of the targeted organizations were involved in international development, humanitarian issues and human rights work, Microsoft said in the blog.

Nobelium launched this week’s attacks by breaking into an email marketing account used by the United States Agency For International Development (USAID) and from there launching phishing attacks on many other organizations, Microsoft said.

In statements issued Friday, the Department of Homeland Security and USAID both said they were aware of the hacking and were investigating.

The hack of information technology company SolarWinds, which was identified in December, gave access to thousands of companies and government offices that used its products. Microsoft President Brad Smith described the attack as “the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen”.

This month, Russia’s spy chief denied responsibility for the SolarWinds cyber attack but said he was “flattered” by the accusations from the United States and Britain that Russian foreign intelligence was behind such a sophisticated hack.

The United States and Britain have blamed Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), successor to the foreign spying operations of the KGB, for the hack which compromised nine U.S. federal agencies and hundreds of private sector companies.

The attacks disclosed by Microsoft on Thursday appeared to be a continuation of multiple efforts to target government agencies involved in foreign policy as part of intelligence gathering efforts, Microsoft said.

The company said it was in the process of notifying all of its targeted customers and had “no reason to believe” these attacks involved any exploitation or vulnerability in Microsoft’s products or services.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Raphael Satter in Washington; Editing by Robert Birsel and Clarence Fernandez)

U.S. pump prices head for highest since 2014 as hacked fuel pipeline shut

By Devika Krishna Kumar and Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. gasoline prices at the pump jumped 6 cents in the latest week and could soon be headed for the highest level since 2014 due to the supply disruption caused by a cyber attack on the country’s biggest fuel pipeline system.

The ransomware attack forced Colonial Pipeline to shut down its entire system on Friday. Some smaller lines were restarted Sunday. Colonial on Monday said it expects to “substantially” restore operational service by the end of the week.

The network ships more than 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast to populous southeast and northeast states.

Gas prices have risen 6 cents per gallon on the week, said the American Automobile Association. The average price stood at $2.967 for regular unleaded gasoline compared with $2.904 a week earlier, the AAA said.

If the trend continues, an increase of 3 more cents would make the national average the most expensive since November 2014.

The southeastern United States will be the first to see price rises at the pumps due to the supply disruption caused by the shutdown of the country’s top fuel pipeline network – and demand has already picked up as drivers fill their tanks, industry experts said.

Areas including Mississippi, Tennessee and the east coast from Georgia into Delaware are most likely to experience limited fuel availability and price increases, as early as this week, said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson, adding that those states may see prices increase three to seven cents this week.

“The shorter the pipeline shutdown, the better news for motorists.”

Parts of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee rely on the line for their fuel supplies and some of them suffered acute localized shortages and spikes in prices at the pump during previous shutdowns. Airlines in the region would also be vulnerable to a prolonged outage, said Tom Kloza, founder of the Oil Price Information Service.

U.S. gasoline demand is picking as more people are vaccinated against COVID-19 and begin to travel more. The peak demand summer driving season begins at the end of May.

Experts also urged drivers to avoid panic buying.

“Motorists are well advised not to strain the system by filling up or beating price adjustments- for they may make the problem much more severe if they do strain the system,” said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel tracking firm GasBuddy.

(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar and Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

Bayer contains cyber attack it says bore Chinese hallmarks

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

By Patricia Weiss and Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German drugmaker Bayer has contained a cyber attack it believes was hatched in China, the company said, highlighting the risk of data theft and disruption faced by big business.

Bayer found the infectious software on its computer networks early last year, covertly monitored and analyzed it until the end of last month and then cleared the threat from its systems, the company said on Thursday.

“There is no evidence of data theft,” Bayer said in a statement, though a spokesman added that the overall damage was still being assessed and that German state prosecutors had launched an investigation.

“This type of attack points toward the ‘Wicked Panda’ group in China, according to security experts,” the spokesman added, citing DCSO, a cyber security group set up by Bayer in 2015 with German partners Allianz, BASF and Volkswagen.

Third-party personal data was also not compromised, the spokesman said.

The hackers used malware called WINNTI, which makes it possible to access a system remotely and then pursue further exploits from there, said Andreas Rohr of the DCSO.

“Once it has been installed, more or less any action can be carried out,” Rohr said.

Discovery of WINNTI provides clear evidence of complex and sophisticated malware that is used in a targeted, sustained espionage campaign, he added

Bayer, Germany’s biggest drugmaker and the world’s largest agricultural supplies company after its takeover of Monsanto, said it could not determine exactly when its systems were first compromised.

‘ACTIVE GROUP’

There was a WINNTI attack on computer systems at German technology group ThyssenKrupp in 2016, according to media reports at the time.

Rohr declined to comment in detail on the Bayer case, citing a non-disclosure agreement but said he knew of at least five WINNTI attacks in Germany.

“This is a very active group of hackers with the ability to carry multiple international attacks in parallel,” he said.

Manufacturing groups across the globe are expanding their data networks as sensors, processing chips and analytical tools become more advanced and cheaper.

Germany has experienced a big increase in the number of security incidents hitting critical infrastructure such as power grids, the country’s cybersecurity agency said in February.

While it’s not possible to say with certainty who was responsible for the attack, because the malware used is widely available, Rohr said the methods bore the hallmarks of Chinese hackers.

“The malware most probably comes from a Chinese group of ‘mercenaries’ who carry out targeted attacks and campaigns on the internet for money,” he said.

“Their targets have in the past been the online gambling industry, the theft of intellectual property of the affected companies or the use of access for the purposes of espionage.”

German broadcasters BR and NDR initially reported the incident.

(Additional reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Keith Weir and David Goodman)

Hackers hit aluminum maker Hydro, knock some plants offline

A note warning visitors about a cyber attack is seen at the headquarters of aluminum producer Norsk Hydro in Oslo, Norway March 19, 2019. NTB Scanpix/Terje Pedersen via REUTERS

By Gwladys Fouche and Terje Solsvik

OSLO (Reuters) – Norsk Hydro, one of the world’s largest producers of aluminum, battled on Tuesday to contain a cyber attack which hit parts of its production, sending its shares lower and aluminum prices higher.

The company shut several metal extrusion plants, which transform aluminum ingots into components for car makers, builders and other industries, while its giant smelters in countries including Norway, Qatar and Brazil were being operated manually.

The attack began on Monday evening and escalated overnight, hitting Hydro’s IT systems for most of its activities and forcing staff to issue updates via social media.

FILE PHOTO: An aluminium coil is seen during opening of a production line for the car industry at a branch of Norway's Hydro aluminum company in Grevenbroich, Germany May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: An aluminum coil is seen during the opening of a production line for the car industry at a branch of Norway’s Hydro aluminum company in Grevenbroich, Germany May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

The Norwegian National Security Authority (NNSA), the state agency in charge of cybersecurity, said the attack used a virus known as LockerGoga, a relatively new strain of so-called ransomware which encrypts computer files and demands payment to unlock them.

Citing a message sent by the NNSA, public broadcaster NRK said on its website hackers had demanded ransom money from Hydro to stop the attack, but the company has not confirmed this.

The malware is not widely used by cybercrime groups, researchers said, but has been linked to an attack on French engineering consultancy Altran Technologies in January.

“Hydro is working to contain and neutralize the attack, but does not yet know the full extent of the situation,” the company said in a statement.

It added that the attack had not affected the safety of its staff and it was too early to assess the impact on customers.

News of the attack pushed aluminum prices up 1.2 percent to a three-month high of $1,944 a tonne in early trade on the London Metal Exchange, before giving up some gains to trade at $1,938 by 1253 GMT.

The event was a rare case of an attack on industrial operations in Norway. The last publicly acknowledged cyber attack in the Nordic country was on software firm Visma, when hackers allegedly working on behalf of Chinese intelligence breached its network to steal secrets from its clients.

PLANT CLOSURES

Companies and governments have become increasingly concerned about the damage hackers can cause to industrial systems and critical national infrastructure following a number of high-profile cyber attacks.

In 2017, hackers later accused by the United States of working for the North Korean government unleashed billions of dollars worth of damage with the Wannacry ransomware virus, which crippled hospital, banks and other companies worldwide.

Pyongyang has denied the allegations.

Other cyber attacks have downed electricity grids and transport systems in recent years, and an attack on Italian oil services firm Saipem late last year destroyed more than 300 of the company’s computers.

Hydro makes products across the aluminum value chain, from the refinement of alumina raw material via metal ingots to bespoke components used in cars and construction.

“Some extrusion plants that are easy to stop and start have chosen to temporarily shut production,” said a Hydro spokesman.

The company’s hydroelectric power plants were running as normal on isolated IT systems unaffected by the outage.

Norsk Hydro’s main website page was unavailable on Tuesday, although some of the web pages belonging to subsidiaries could still be accessed. The company was giving updates on the situation on its Facebook page.

“Hydro’s main priority now is to limit the effects of the attack and to ensure continued people safety,” it wrote in a Facebook post.

Hydro shares fell 3.4 percent in early trade before a partial recovery to trade down 0.4 percent by 1253 GMT. They were still lagging the Oslo benchmark index, which was up 0.7 percent.

Hydro, which has 36,000 employees in 40 countries, made a net profit of 4.3 billion Norwegian crowns ($505 million) last year on sales of 159.4 billion.

(Additional reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo, with Jack Stubbs and Barbara Lewis in London; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Holmes)

World must keep lethal weapons under human control, Germany says

FILE PHOTO: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas arrives for the weekly German cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s foreign minister on Friday called for urgent efforts to ensure that humans remained in control of lethal weapons, as a step toward banning “killer robots”.

Heiko Maas told an arms control conference in Berlin that rules were needed to limit the development and use of weapons that could kill without human involvement.

Critics fear that the increasingly autonomous drones, missile defense systems and tanks made possible by new technology and artificial intelligence could turn rogue in a cyber-attack or as a result of programming errors.

The United Nations and the European Union have called for a global ban on such weapons, but discussions so far have not yielded a clear commitment to conclude a treaty.

“Killer robots that make life-or-death decisions on the basis of anonymous data sets, and completely beyond human control, are already a shockingly real prospect today,” Maas said. “Fundamentally, it’s about whether we control the technology or it controls us.”

Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands signed a declaration at the conference vowing to work to prevent weapons proliferation.

“We want to want to codify the principle of human control over all deadly weapons systems internationally, and thereby take a big step toward a global ban on fully autonomous weapons,” Maas told the conference.

He said he hoped progress could be made in talks under the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) this year. The next CCW talks on lethal autonomous weapons take place this month in Geneva.

Human Rights Watch’s Mary Wareham, coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, urged Germany to push for negotiations on a global treaty, rather than a non-binding declaration.

“Measures that fall short of a new ban treaty will be insufficient to deal with the multiple challenges raised by killer robots,” she said in a statement.

In a new Ipsos survey, 61 percent of respondents in 26 countries opposed the use of lethal autonomous weapons.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

British Airways says a further 185,000 payment cards possibly hit in cyber attack

FILE PHOTO - People queue with their luggage for the British Airways check-in desk at Gatwick Airport in southern England, Britain, May 28, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

(Reuters) – International Airlines Group said an investigation into the theft of customers’ data at its unit British Airways showed the hackers may have stolen personal information from an additional 185,000 payment cards.

BA said in September that around 380,000 card payments were compromised, with hackers obtaining names, street and email addresses, credit card numbers, expiry dates and security codes – sufficient information to steal from accounts.

On Thursday, British Airways revised that number down, saying that only 244,000 of those originally identified were affected, but said additional customers could have been affected.

On the whole, the total number of payment cards potentially affected stood at 429,000 as of Thursday.

The hackers obtained names, street and email addresses, credit card numbers, expiry dates and in some cases, security codes – sufficient information to steal from accounts.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

Japan hit by another cryptocurrency heist, $60 million stolen

The silhouette of Japan's highest mountain Mount Fuji is seen beyond buildings in Tokyo in a file photo. REUTERS/Issei Kato

By Taiga Uranaka

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese cryptocurrency firm Tech Bureau Corp said about $60 million in digital currencies were stolen from its exchange, highlighting the industry’s vulnerability despite recent efforts by authorities to make it more secure.

Tech Bureau, which had already been slapped with two business improvement orders by regulators this year, said its Zaif exchange was hacked over a two-hour period on Sept. 14. It detected server problems on Sept. 17, confirmed the hack the following day, and notified authorities, the exchange said on Thursday.

Following the hack, Tech Bureau said it had agreed with JASDAQ-listed Fisco Ltd to receive a 5 billion yen ($44.59 million) investment in exchange for majority ownership. The proceeds from the investment would be used to replace the digital currencies stolen from client accounts.

However, Fisco said in a statement the 5 billion yen in “financial assistance” may change in value if the amount affected by the heist changes upon further investigation.

Documents seen by Reuters on Thursday showed Japan’s Financial Services Agency would conduct emergency checks on cryptocurrency exchange operators’ management of customer assets, following the theft. FSA officials were not immediately available for comment.

Japan’s crypto exchanges have been under close regulatory scrutiny after the theft of $530 million in digital coins at Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc. in January. Coincheck has since been acquired by Japanese online brokerage Monex Group Inc.

In the industry-wide check that followed the Coincheck theft, FSA said it found sloppy management at many exchanges, including the lack of proper safeguards for client assets and basic anti-money laundering measures.

In the Tech Bureau theft, virtual currencies worth about 6.7 billion yen ($59.67 million), including Bitcoin, Monacoin and Bitcoin Cash, were stolen from the exchange’s “hot wallet”. About 2.2 billion yen worth of the stolen currency was its own while the remaining 4.5 billion yen belonged to customers, it said.

Hot wallets are connected to the internet. Industry experts consider them to be more vulnerable to hacks than “cold wallets”, which are not connected to the internet.

The latest hack is likely to affect the FSA’s ongoing regulatory review of the industry. Other countries are also grappling with how to regulate crypto market.

Japan last year became the first country to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges, as it encourages technological innovation while ensuring consumer protection. Exchanges have to register with FSA and required reporting and other responsibilities.

FSA said last week more than 160 entities have expressed interest in entering the cryptocurrency exchange business but FSA has not issued any approval since December last year.

Toshihide Endo, FSA commissioner told Reuters in an interview last month that the agency is trying to strike a balance between safeguarding clients and technological innovation.

“We have no intention to curb (the crypto industry) excessively,” he said. “We would like to see it grow under appropriate regulation.”

($1 = 112.1400 yen)

(Additional reporting by Chang-Ran Kim and Takahiko Wada; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Sam Holmes)