In the digital era, wars waged beyond the limitations of regions and borders in the virtual Internet space by harnessing information technology have become an important issue.
In the past few weeks, Taiwan has experienced cyberattacks against private and industrial organizations such as CPC Corp, Taiwan and Formosa Petrochemical Corp, as well as government agencies such as the Presidential Office. Meanwhile, information has been released related to Taiwan and the enemy, making it difficult to distinguish truth from misinformation.
It could be clearly seen after the last attack and the use of various forms of disinformation and misinformation that national security has been upgraded from protecting against information penetration attacks to defending against cyberwarfare.
Confronted with this new type of threat, how should Taiwan prepare?
In 2013, NATO held a cyberconflict security conference in Tallinn, Estonia.
After the conference, Cambridge University Press published the official Tallinn Manual, which marked the first publication of cyberwarfare regulations. Tallinn 2.0 was published in 2017.
Developed through cross-domain collaborations led by leading world experts and academics, Tallinn 2.0 made detailed references to existing international treaties and practices, and finally integrated the new cyberwarfare guidelines into the international legal system.
The types of cyberattacks from China against Taiwan are endless. Confronted with wrestling with asymmetric resources, Taiwan should not only improve the nation’s digital power, but also take advantage of the global situation to avoid the dilemma of passive defense.
Taiwan should launch a campaign to critically leverage its power and form allies for a new type of warfare in the complex international struggle.
As a member of the Indo-Pacific strategy, Taiwan, while under globally recognized and severe digital attacks, should draw on the experience of NATO.
The nation should create a strategy based on the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, as well as imitate NATO to further open the initiative and establish new regional security and governance cooperation mechanisms.
Together with Australia, Japan, the US and other nations, the group could ensure security on issues such as the economy, politics, military and diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region.
In other words, Taiwan urgently needs to draft a national-level digital development strategy.
By applying information and communications resources as the pivot, as well as taking advantage of the Indo-Pacific strategic partnership platform, Taiwan should draft a framework and a set of regulations for an Indo-Pacific Digital Strategy with friendly nations to shift from defense to offense, and turn from passive strategies to active ones that safeguard the order of the Indo-Pacific region.
Chen Chih-wei is a fellow of the UK’s Royal Geographical Society and a visiting professor at University College London.
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