Mon, Aug 15, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Hacking attack on DPP a potential ‘Watergate’

THREATS:The nature of the classified information retrieved by hackers targeting the DPP underscores the KMT’s fears of losing next year’s election, a security expert says

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff Reporter

“They knew what they were doing. Amateur hackers usually limit themselves to changing content on a page. The attacks against the DPP were far more focused and information was retrieved,” he said. “They were professionals.”

In his opinion, this was either an NSB job or carried out by a former NSB official or officials on behalf of the KMT.

Ma’s campaign office told the Taipei Times yesterday its campaign team had been receiving suspicious e-mails with unknown attachments or Web links since the office was launched in June, but did not define such situations as hacking attacks.

Lee Chia-fei (李佳霏), a spokesperson for Ma’s campaign office, said the office had set up an information security team to handle information leaks and possible hacking activity, and that the team reminded staff members to be cautious about suspicious e-mails.

She said the identity of campaign staff, including her and Yin Wei (殷瑋), another campaign spokesperson, had been “hijacked” before, but the team handled the problem as a regular information security issue that anyone could face when using the Internet.

Lee dismissed accusations that the campaign office could be involved in hacking against the DPP and accused the opposition party of manipulating information security issue for electoral purposes.

“What we do is take precautionary measures when handling e-mails and using the Internet. We would not manipulate the issue for election campaign purposes or make groundless accusations against others,” she said.

Lee’s comments contradicted an article headlined “Cyber-attacks targeting KMT, DPP revealed” published in the KMT-friendly China Post on Wednesday last week — one day after the DPP made its complaint public — in which Ma’s office was reported to have “confirmed” it had suffered recent hacking attacks.

However, the office did not provide details or whether any information had been leaked and told the Post that “time constraints” had prevented them from “looking into the high number of hacking activities, and [that] to chase after each case would be futile.”

Meanwhile, a Xinhua spokesperson last week dismissed the allegations that its offices were behind the attacks against the DPP, calling them “groundless.”

“As a news service provider, we have an impartial and objective stance on the election of the Taiwan region [sic], and we will never interfere in the matter,” the spokesperson told the Epoch Times.

“The campaign office of Tsai Ing-wen, without serious verification, presumptuously claimed Xinhua as a source of the cyber attacks, which terribly tainted Xinhua’s reputation,” the spokesperson said, adding that IP addresses can be hijacked to cloak cyber attacks.

Western intelligence agencies worldwide have long suspected Xinhua bureaus and reporters to act as intelligence officers for Beijing.


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