Japanese officials urge caution for fake 'official' websites

Cybersecurity officials are warning about a number of fake websites for central and local government offices that have been discovered in recent weeks.

Illegitimate websites have been confirmed since last week for the education ministry, the defense ministry and the consumer affairs agency, among other central government entities.

Local governments have also found spoof versions of their websites.

Officials in Ehime Prefecture say the fake site, which was spotted on Monday, looks almost identical to the original, apart from the URL. They say users of a certain search engine may be directed to the fake site.

Nagano City officials say residents have informed them since June 1 of the existence of a fake version of the municipality's official site.

The National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity, or NISC, says some fraudulent websites could steal personal information.

NISC officials advise users to check the site addresses and say they should also be careful when clicking links.