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Taiwan prepares for spike in Chinese cyber-attacks in lead-up to elections

‘Governments from around the world should be watching what is happening in Taiwan incredibly closely’

(Courtesy of Pxhere)

(Courtesy of Pxhere)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is preparing for a drastic increase in Chinese cyber-attacks in a bid to influence the result of Taiwan's municipal and local elections on November 24, 2018 and the 2020 presidential election.

"We anticipate in the run-up to elections at the end of this year and continuing until the 2020 presidential elections Taiwan will become a global hotspot for cyber attacks and fake news," said a spokesperson for President Tsai-ing wen (蔡英文), reported the Financial Times of London.

Recent months have seen an increase in Chinese-led cyber-attacks against Taiwan, with the most public example being the hacking of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) website on July 3.

According to a Taiwanese cyber security official, the majority of cyber attacks against Taiwan originate in China, and that China instigates up to 40 million cyber attacks against Taiwan per month.

China is now seeking to influence the outcomes of upcoming elections in Taiwan in its favor, and this is not dissimilar to recent Russian actions, Washington-based analyst and researcher at King's College London, Lauren Dickey told Financial times.

"This covert cyber interference — taking place across websites, social networks and mobile chat apps — will continue to increase," said Danielle Cave, a senior analyst at the International Cyber Policy Centre at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, reported the Financial Times.

"Governments from around the world should be watching what is happening in Taiwan incredibly closely" she added.

Taiwan is "on the front lines of cyber warfare, with hackers trying to steal information and spreading fake news to create dissent in Taiwan society", Tsai's spokesperson said, quoted the Financial Times.

Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯.尤達卡), DPP legislator said that the government and political parties were inundated with fake news campaigns and online trolls.

"It is scary, some people are brainwashed by this fake news," she told the Financial Times.

In response to the increase in Chinese-led cyber attacks, the Department of Cyber Security, Executive Yuan announced in April that a taskforce will be dispatched to ministerial departments to assist staff in information sharing and training against cyber crime.