Japan faces rising 'cyber crime' rate

Japanese police pledged to improve their technology to battle cyber crime, which shot up 40% last year as fraudsters become increasingly sly, an AFP report said.

The AFP report, quoting Japan's National Police Agency, said police investigated 4,425 cases of online crime last year, an increase from 3,161 a year earlier and about 3.3 times more than five years ago.

Nearly half of the crimes involved fraud, mostly through online auctions, the agency's report further said.

Police will 'develop cutting edge technologies and methods of investigation to technologically counter sophisticated cyber crimes,' it said.

The AFP report said illegal access cases jumped 2.5 times in 2006 from a year earlier, as perpetrators used keylogging, spyware and phishing sites to obtain Internet users' IDs illegally.

The agency described one phishing case in Tokyo, in which a 14-year-old boy set up a Web site copied from an online game company, the report said.

He pretended to run a video-game and solicited players to his fabricated site, where he would snatch their IDs so he could hack into the game company's computer, the agency said.