Taiwan not alone in dealing with cyberattacks: AIT Director

2019 Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercises in Taipei enter second phase

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AIT Director Brent Christensen (CNA file photo)

AIT Director Brent Christensen (CNA file photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Brent Christensen affirmed U.S. collaboration with Taiwan on cybersecurity, as a five-day series of cyberwarfare exercises entered the second phase on Wednesday (Nov. 6) in Taipei.

Opening the second phase of the 2019 Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercises, jointly organized for the first time by Taiwanese and U.S. authorities, the director stressed the event should send a message to the world that “Taiwan is not alone on cyber.”

“The United States stands with you [Taiwan], side by side, as a friend and partner,” said Christensen. He added that every country that share similar values should join the U.S. and Taiwan to collectively bolster cyber defenses.

Representatives from more than a dozen countries have been invited to the exercises, prepared by Taiwan’s cyber security agencies and their U.S. counterparts, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “We must protect our intellectual property from cyber theft, our infrastructure from sabotage, and our democracies from interference by authoritarian states,” said the director.

Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) remarked that Taiwan is at the frontline of organized cyberattacks, which any individual country would find formidable to tackle. He thus called for cross-national collaboration and to build a joint defense shield to counter various threats on the internet.

The five-day event focuses on combatting cyber threats from North Korea and authoritarian actors that aim to utilize the openness of democratic countries and their networks to achieve subversion or sow division. According to Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Taiwan and the U.S. are also discussing the establishment of an International Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.

Speaking at the Legislative Yuan on Wednesday morning, Wu, nevertheless, declined to disclose further details on how Taiwan and the U.S. would work on building the center. Even so, acting AIT Director Raymond Greene said on Monday the center would provide a platform for “close public and private sector cooperation on cybersecurity, both here in Taiwan and for the whole Indo-Pacific region, especially when it comes to network security, 5G, and emerging technology cybersecurity standards.”