Mon, Jun 18, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Cyberattacks by China ever more sneaky: source

By Jess Macy Yu  /  Reuters, TAIPEI

Cyberattacks from China on government computers are becoming more difficult to detect, as hackers increasingly use online platforms, such as search engines, to break into systems, a source close to government discussions said.

While the frequency of attacks by China’s cyberarmy has declined, the success rate of such incursions is rising, the source said.

“Taiwan’s official departments suffer from hundreds of successful Internet attacks each year, more than half of which come from assaults by China’s cyberarmy,” said the person, who is not authorized to speak to the media and declined to be identified.

China has denied accusations of engaging in cyberwarfare or hacking and has said that it is itself one of the world’s biggest victims of such incidents.

Neither China’s Taiwan Affairs Office nor the Chinese Cyberspace Administration immediately responded to a request for comment.

The alleged cyberattacks come as Beijing has been increasing diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan.

The source said hackers are adopting new techniques to conceal their activities.

“They frequently go through online platforms such as Google and blogs to hide and give investigators the impression that they are a normal platform or tool so that the investigators ignore background actions,” the person said.

Government agencies face “frequent cyberattacks and scanning of their vulnerabilities, with the attack volume reaching 10 million a month,” the source said.

Most attacks targeted non-core service systems, were low-level in nature and included activities such as changing Web sites and tampering with information, but there have also been more serious attacks on core systems, they said.

The government has evidence that some of the attacks targeted agencies and their Web sites by intruding into servers and stealing account passwords, the source added.

The nation’s representative offices abroad have also been targeted using methods such as taking screen snapshots, keylogging and unpacking related information, the source said.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in 2016, China’s hostility toward Taiwan has increased. Analysts expect cyberattacks will continue to cause a headache for the government.

“Taiwan has very good cyberdefense and investigation skills and capacity. However, under such a huge number of attacks and the special relationship across the Strait, it is really difficult to prevent 100 percent of the attacks,” said Lennon Chang, a senior lecturer in criminology at Monash University in Melbourne.

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