Talk of the Day -- Shooting ignites Taiwan-Philippines cyber war

A cyber war has been raging between Taiwanese and Philippine Internet users since a Philippine Coast Guard vessel opened fire at an unarmed Taiwanese fishing boat May 9 that left one fisherman dead and the fishing boat seriously damaged. Taiwan's Presidential Office confirmed Sunday that its official website was attacked by hackers traced to the Philippines. According to local media reports, 40 percent of the Philippine government's official websites were also paralyzed that day by hackers from Taiwan and even from China. The reports said a group of Taiwanese netizens have used the gossip section of Taiwan's largest bulletin board system, PTT, as a cyber warfare center to hack into various Philippine government websites. The following are excerpts from a special report in the Monday edition of the United Evening News on the ongoing Taiwan-Philippines cyber war over the Manila's "frivolous" response to Taiwan's demand for an apology for the killing of the 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng: A netizen set up a teaching website PTT4CK explaining how to use DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack to hack into Philippine official websites. As it is very convenient to use, the campaign immediately drew thousands of followers. Some patriotic netizens bought Dropbox business account for like-minded Internet users to sue while others wrote simple virus programs for netizens to use. Several netizens provide Android-enabled software for other hackers. As of 8 p.m. May 12, more than 200 of the 600-plus Philippines-based websites had been paralyzed or unable to operate normally. A group of Chinese netizens also joined the attack Saturday, hacking into the Philippines' Department of Finance and educational institutions and replacing their home pages with China's national flag. Some of those netizens demonstrated sophisticated skills, indicating China's heavy investments in cyberwarfare personnel training have borne fruit, local technology industry analysts said. The People's Liberation Army has deployed a cyber security squad, also known as "online blue army," in its Guangzhou military region in southern China, military sources said. China has even set up a special technology institute in Shandong Province, Lanxiang Vocational School, to cultivate cyber warfare specialists and strategists, the sources said. On May 10, Philippine hackers also lacunhed coutnerattack on Taiwan's official websites, including those run by the Presidential Office, the ministries of national defense, foreign affairs and economic affairs as well as the Coast Guard Administration, the Taipei City Government, the Tainan City Government and some private corporations. Defense ministry officials said the technology levels of Philippine hackers were not impressive. "Their attacks mainly led to a slowdown in online connection of our websites and almost no Philippine hacker was able to replace our web pages," said a defense ministry official. Hsiao Hsiu-chin, head of the Executive Yuan's Office of Information and Communication Security, said Monday that Taiwan's hackers had launched an all-out onslaught on the Philippine government's websites. "Many of the Philippines' official websites should have been paralyzed and unable to even receive any email," Hsiao said. As of Sunday, both sides mostly used DDoS hack attack which only slowed down or disrupted online connections and did not hurt the websites. But Taiwanese hackers reportedly upgraded their attack from Sunday midnight, using more lethal DNS (Domain Name System) cache poisoning attack, which would lead to leaks of data stored in the websites. A group of Taiwanese hackers, known as AnonTAIWAN, unveiled the Philippine government's DNS registration data and passwords of major Philippine websites managers on a website named Pastbin. Over 2,300 Philippine websites were estimated to be affected by the DNS hack attack by Taiwan netizens. Those websites might include some of those related with the Philippine elections. Political analysts said the hack attack might sabotage the Philippines' election vote count system, which could spark a political storm in the Southeast Asia country. (May 13, 2013). (By Sofia Wu)