Tue, Sep 04, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet plans big cybersecurity budget

CHINESE THREAT:Beijing has stepped up attacks against the Presidential Office and other government Web sites to obtain information on Taiwan’s 23 million citizens

By Chen Yu-fu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Executive Yuan plans to spend more than NT$1.6 billion (US$51.1 million) next year to protect the most frequently attacked government Web sites and databases from Chinese hacking, multiple sources said yesterday.

Last year’s most frequently hacked targets were the Web sites of the Presidential Office, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Bureau, the sources said.

To shore up its defenses, the bureau, which last year averted more than 23 million assaults, plans to build by 2025 a fibet-optic communication network at an estimated cost of NT$210 million, they said.

The digital economy budget of the Ministry of the Interior is to allocate NT$910 million toward enhancing local government cybersecurity and regional joint defenses.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs is to implement a cybersecurity flagship program for the defense industry at a cost of NT$370 million, while the National Communications Commission is to establish a data stream security office, as well as cybersecurity services and research, at a cost of NT$130 million, the budget plan shows.

“China has, out of its deep hostility for our nation, initiated an aggressive campaign to obtain information on the nation’s 23 million citizens through their household registration, military service or personal data,” a government official said yesterday on condition of anonymity.

The nation must continually improve its cybersecurity without letting up, the official added.

The special budget for the first phase of the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program allocates NT$840 million to replace aging and vulnerable equipment used by the household registration services, the Department of Household Registration Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior said separately.

The phase-out program is proceeding smoothly, the department said, adding that it would continue to enhance its cybersecurity by taking advantage next year of the cybersecurity of local governments and the regional joint-defense program.

The Executive Yuan plans to spend NT$8 million on operations to safeguard homeland information and communications, the sources said.

While NT$4.7 million of the budget is allocated for international cooperation and dialogue on homeland security and anti-terrorism measures, NT$33 million is slated for dialogue and activities related to cybersecurity policies, they said.

The dialogue would include Taiwan-US talks on cybersecurity, conferences on protecting crucial digital infrastructure and participation in Black Hat panels, the world’s leading information security event, they said.

The Presidential Office proposed NT$600,000 to establish a cybersecurity research fund that would apply the latest research to protect its information practices and communications, they said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs — reportedly targeted by 20,000 cyberattacks per year — has proposed allocating NT$1.6 million toward information security at embassies and representative offices, they said.

The budget would enable purchase of encryption equipment and additional secured telephone lines, as well as funding supervision for the use of codes and the transportation of classified mail, they said.

Another NT$1.9 million is allocated for the foreign affairs ministry to conduct cybersecurity inspections, particularly at embassies and representative offices, they added.

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