National security authorities yesterday pledged to conduct a stringent investigation into a security breach at Chunghwa Telecom Co, the nation’s largest telecommunications company, after it was confirmed that a Chinese citizen gained access to an off-limits machine room.
News of the unauthorized visit was first reported by Chinese-language Next Magazine, which said a Chinese national posted dozens of photographs of machines and equipment from inside the Chunghwa Telecom facility to social media site WeChat.
The man was identified as Wu Xin (吳昕), a native of China’s Fujian Province, by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) at a press conference yesterday.
According to Next Magazine, Wu claimed the photographs were from a “top-secret agency” in Taiwan and he was the first Chinese visitor to see the “important” facility.
Chunghwa Telecom vice president Ho Hsu-hui confirmed the incident, which he said happened on Oct. 23, adding that it had not come to the company’s attention until Nov. 6, when the company called an emergency meeting.
An internal probe found that a senior staff member met Wu when traveling in China, and the employee invited Wu to come to Taiwan, said Ho, adding that since the staff member was still at work when Wu arrived, he invited his guest into the machine room.
According to Ho, the machine room Wu “toured” serves both commercial and residential areas, including several governmental units such as Taipei’s Traffic Adjudication Office, the Ministry of Economic Affair’s Small and Medium Enterprises Administration and the national power and water companies.
“No important national intelligence facilities are situated in those areas,” the company executive said, adding that Chunghwa Telecom, a formerly state-run enterprise in which the government still holds shares, has 900 machine rooms around Taiwan, “all under strict security control.”
Calling it an isolated incident, Ho said the company found no signs of intelligence leaks or sabotaged equipment, and the staff member responsible has been transferred and given a major demerit.
National Security Bureau division director Chao Chia-feng (趙家鋒) said measures have been taken to determine whether the purpose of Wu’s visit matched that stated on his application to come to Taiwan, adding that if he is found to have collected intelligence, he will face punishment under the Criminal Code and the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法).
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