Cyber-attacks: Taiwan prepares for cyber war amid China’s military pressure

Cyber-attacks: Taiwan prepares for cyber war amid China’s military pressure
Cyber-attacks: Taiwan prepares for cyber war amid China’s military pressure

Taiwan says it has been able to defend against the overwhelming majority of cyber-attacks

Numbers of countries are now focusing on the mounting threat of cyber-crimes, as cyber-attacks are a growing global threat, Taiwan being at the forefront amid China’s military pressure and crippling cyber-attacks.

Taiwan’s head of cyber-security told CNN Business this month that it is using dramatic measures to guard against technological vulnerabilities including employing roughly two dozen computer experts to deliberately attack the government’s systems and help it defend against what Taiwanese authorities estimate are some 20 million to 40 million cyber-attacks every month.

Taiwan says it has been able to defend against the overwhelming majority of cyber-attacks. Successful breaches and cyber-attacks number in the hundreds, while only handful is what the government classifies as “serious”.

But the enormous number of cyber-attacks and where Taiwan thinks they’re coming from has compelled the government to take the issue seriously, according to Chien Hung-wei, head of Taiwan’s Department of Cyber-security, reported CNN.

“Based on the attackers’ actions and methodology, we have a rather high degree of confidence that many cyber-attacks originated from our neighbour”, he told CNN Business, referring to mainland China.

“The operation of our government highly relies on the internet”, Chien said. “Our critical infrastructure, such as gas, water and electricity are highly digitized, so we can easily fall victim if our network security is not robust enough”.

At the time, President Tsai Ing-wen declared cyber-security a matter of national security. This May, she announced the creation of a new digital development ministry, which will supervise the information and communication sector with a focus of protecting critical infrastructure, according to Taiwan’s official Central News Agency.

In an exclusive interview with CNN last month, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu accused China of using military intimidation, disinformation campaigns and cyber-attacks to undermine the Taiwanese population’s trust in their own government.

Since the end of the Chinese Civil War more than 70 years ago, Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately. While the Chinese Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan, Beijing considers the island to be an “inseparable part” of its territory and has repeatedly threatened to use force if necessary to prevent the island from formally declaring independence.

China has stepped up its military pressure on Taiwan in the recent years. Prompting Taiwan to alert its air defences, in June, the country sent over two dozen warplanes near the island.

Since Taiwan began keeping records of incursions last year, that was the largest number of warplanes sent to that zone. Beijing has also released military propaganda warning Taipei to “prepare for war” as it establishes stronger ties with the United States, reported CNN.

Experts have voiced concerns not just about the prospect of military warfare, but cyber warfare, too. Moreover, China was accused by the West earlier this week of launching a massive, global hacking campaign.

China’s Ministry of State Security was accused on Monday by the United States, the European Union and other allies of using “criminal contract hackers” to carry out malicious activities around the world, including a campaign against Microsoft’s Exchange email service in March.

US-based cyber-security Company, earlier this month Recorded Future alleged that a Chinese state-sponsored group has been targeting the Industrial Technology Research Institute, a Taiwanese hi-tech research institution.

Recorded Future said it found that Chinese groups have been targeting organizations across Taiwan’s semiconductor industry to obtain source codes, software development kits and chip designs. It based its claims on evidence it compiled using a method called network traffic analysis, which examines such traffic to detect security threats.

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