Taiwan hit by jump in cyber attacks from China


Rise in hacking attempts part of Beijing’s hardening approach to Taipei, experts say

Taiwan has been hit by a jump in serious cyber attacks from China during the past two years in the latest sign that Beijing is only increasing its pressure as the US reaffirms its support for the self-ruled island.

Taiwan’s government departments are bombarded by tens of millions of hacking attempts each month but the number of “high-impact incidents” — which include targeted attacks aimed at stealing sensitive government data and personal information — tripled from four in 2015 to 12 in 2017, according to Chien Hung-wei, director-general of the cyber security department under the Executive Yuan, Taiwan’s cabinet.

The Chinese Communist party, which considers Taiwan as part of its territory, has ratcheted up coercive measures against the government in Taipei since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive party, which replaced the more pro-China Kuomintang.

The rise in cyber warfare was part of a hardening of Beijing’s approach to Taiwan, another senior security official in Taipei said. “The number of cyber attacks has been increasing quite sharply, and mainly targeting the government agencies.”

There has been a “further intensifying of [China’s] efforts” in recent months, the official said, pointing to the higher frequency of Chinese military drills in its territory and targeting of Taiwan’s dwindling number of official diplomatic allies.