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NTT boss takes early retirement to atone for data leak • The Register

NTT West president Masaaki Moribayashi announced his resignation on Thursday, effective at the end of March, in atonement for the leak of data pertaining to 9.28 million customers that came to light last October.

“Our social responsibility is extremely important. I’m stepping down to take the blame,” stated the president as translated from Japanese at a widely reported press conference in Osaka.

Moribayashi has held the role at the Japanese carrier/tech services provider since June 2022.

Resignations are not unusual after such incidents in Japan – either as a type of mea culpa, to maintain one’s honor, or to tame public anger. Often resignations are avoided if a leader simply offers up a chunk of their salary instead.

On Thursday, NTT West apologized for the leak and released details of a related investigation.

A temporary employee dispatched to NTT Business Solutions Corporation stole the data and sold it to a third party, claimed NTT West.

The theft is believed to have occurred across a decade – long before Moribayashi took the helm.

However, the org had been previously tipped off to a potential leak in 2022 by a client. Internal investigations around that time not only didn’t find the leak, but also gave incorrect details about security measures – such as encryption software that was never used.

The former employee has since been arrested and was indicted in February for violation of the unfair competition prevention law.

Last month Japan’s communication ministry concluded that NTT West had failed to oversee and manage customer data properly, and ordered the business to revise its contracts with employment agencies.

In the corporate equivalent of sackcloth and ashes penance, a statement promised: “In order to prevent a similar incident from occurring again, the NTT West Group will steadily implement preventive measures to strengthen information security and strive to restore the trust of everyone associated with the NTT West Group.”

These upgrades include adding 100 members to its infosec division and budgeting ¥10 billion ($66.5 million) for monitoring upgrades. ®

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