Mon, Nov 16, 2015 - Page 8 News List

Responding to the threat of Internet insecurity

By Li Jung-shian 李忠憲

Information security is becoming increasingly important.

From comments by Chinese Internet users on Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) Facebook page, the sudden disconnection of media Web sites at crucial moments, hacker attacks, fraud, blackmail and China’s replacement of the “Taiwan compatriot permit” with electronic biochip cards, to network hardware by Huawei Technologies Co, the spread of malicious software, the online services of Leshi Internet Information and Technology (Beijing) Co, Xiaomi’s terminals and espionage at various levels of government agencies and telecom companies, no one is optimistic about the nation’s information security.

Tsai has proposed developing a national defense industry, with a special focus on information security. This is one of the most important aspects to national security, as every nation should have its information security industry, although that might sound vague.

It should be divided into three sections: management, services and products. It would not be a problem to purchase foreign information security products, but it would be risky if management and services were controlled by other nations. At the moment, this is mostly outsourced to other nations at great risk. Due to national security concerns, the nation should control management and services; this should be given priority. Product purchases, on the other hand, are an economic concern.

Each government agency has a chief information security officer (資安長), who is generally the deputy of that office. The post was designed during former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) term, because of rising awareness of national and information security.

During President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) tenure, neither the National Security Bureau nor the Mainland Affairs Council were informed of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) beforehand. A person who has no concern for national security would have no need for information security. This is why the information security policies of the Ma administration are so absurd.

Tsai has proposed the establishment of a fourth military branch, a cyberarmy, and increased investment in information security and the national defense industry. These are the right things to do.

In the face of the Chinese threat on the nation’s information security, government networks should be strictly controlled, while control of terminals could be looser. National and information security reviews should be added to the government’s major systems and networks, and caution should be applied to allowing Chinese system services and terminals.

The government should set up a dedicated unit of the Executive Yuan, which should draft an information security act and regularly release the latest information on the nation’s information security situation. It should monitor key infrastructure industries and companies that could jeapordize national security.

In the case of threats to people’s privacy, there should be a standard operating procedure for handling the storage and retrieval of database information and usage logs. For the use of chip identification cards and the Internet of things, information security concerns should outweigh convenience.

Based on the demand for efficiency in capitalist societies, the nation should focus on information security and on not building a world like the one described in George Orwell’s novel 1984.

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