Citing the persistent threat and recent massive cyberattacks launched by hackers based in China against Taiwanese Web sites and databases, pan-green lawmakers yesterday said they plan to table a motion to forbid government agencies from purchasing Chinese-made information technology (IT) products and software.
“China has been using its national brands of IT devices to breach online security and intrude into other countries. The proliferation of these incidents is alarming. The US, the UK and other Western countries are very much troubled by these cyberattacks,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said yesterday, adding that he and his colleagues will propose the act in the coming days.
“Taiwan is among the countries under the most frequent attack by Chinese hackers. We should learn from the US government, to ban all purchasing of Chinese-made IT and telecommunications products. This is necessary to maintain our national security and protection of our information systems,” he added.
In September last year, the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence issued a warning in a report advising US companies to refrain from doing business with China’s two leading IT firms — Huawei Technologies Ltd (華為) and ZTE Corp (中興) — because they pose a national security threat to the US due to the firms’ close ties with the Chinese government. The report recommended that US government computer systems not include any components from these two firms because that could pose an espionage risk.
On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama signed a spending bill that blocked government buying of IT equipment from firms “owned, directed or subsidized” by China.
The bill prevents NASA, the National Science Foundation and the US justice and commerce departments from buying IT systems unless US federal law enforcement officials give their approval.
Chen said that cyberattacks by hackers based in China have become a major problem worldwide, raising questions regarding the wisdom of using Chinese-made IT and telecommunications products.
The DPP lawmakers’ planned bill came amid recent confirmation by the National Security Bureau (NSB) that cyberattacks targeting Taiwanese Web sites by Chinese hackers have grown more serious than ever and threaten the nation’s military security, as well as its high-tech and commercial sectors.
NSB Director Tsai Der-sheng (蔡得勝) told legislators last week that the bureau’s Web site came under attack by hackers more than 3.34 million times last year, an average of about 10,000 attacks a day.
The legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee in October last year adopted a resolution requesting the NSB, in conjunction with the Ministry of National Defense and affiliated agencies, to conduct a comprehensive review on types of key national infrastructure projects that should be placed under restrictions barring participation by Chinese firms or Chinese capital and to table the report by May.