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Cyberattacks on Taiwan are gaining in sophistication

China is the main source: National Defense University expert

Cyberattacks against Taiwan are becoming more sophisticated.

Cyberattacks against Taiwan are becoming more sophisticated. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Outside cyberattacks against Taiwan have become more sophisticated and better organized, National Defense University expert Joseph Hwang (黃基禎) told an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Friday.

The targets of the hackers have changed from weak to more sophisticated and of higher value, while the attackers used to be individuals but are now more likely to be well-organized groups, Hwang told the event, titled “Taiwan’s Cybersecurity Environment: Challenges and Opportunities.”

Last year, each month, the island’s top intelligence agency, the National Security Bureau, was targeted by domestic hackers about 100,000 times a month, with a clear rise since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) came to power in May 2016, Hwang said.

China was the biggest source of such cyberattacks, though it was difficult to determine whether they originated with private individuals or with government units, the Chinese-language Liberty Times quoted him as saying.

One of the reasons for the qualitative change in the attacks could be that Taiwan’s capabilities to defend itself against hackers had improved considerably, Hwang said, while adding it might also be possible that the .hackers thought they were wasting time.

Cooperation on the issue between Taiwan and the United States should start from education, from exchanges about how to prevent cyberattacks, but not from joint drills, which might not be that useful, Hwang said. As a frequent target of Chinese hackers, Taiwan could also choose to cooperate with other countries by sharing its experience in warding off cyberattacks, according to the Liberty Times.

Friday’s CSIS event was also attended by the think tank’s senior fellow at the Freeman Chair in China Studies, Christopher Johnson, and by Samm Sacks, senior fellow of its Technology Policy Program.