The first-ever international cyberexercises cohosted by Taiwan and the US opened yesterday in Taipei, with global cyberattacks, especially from North Korea and China, the focus of the five-day event.
Taiwan has been holding the Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercises (CODE) every two years since 2013, but this year is the first time that foreign teams have participated. More than 10 countries — including Australia, the Czech Republic, Japan and Malaysia — have sent participants.
Speaking at the opening ceremony at Microsoft Taiwan’s offices, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Deputy Director Raymond Greene said this year’s exercises mark a new frontier in ever-deepening cybercooperation between the US and Taiwan.
They are aimed at strengthening domestic cyberdefenses and related skills, and promoting closer international cooperation on cybersecurity, he said.
“Ultimately, the success of this week will be measured by whether all of you remain in close contact with each other after the exercises are over,” Greene said.
Greene was standing in for AIT Director Brent Christensen, who yesterday joined Taiwan External Trade Development Council (外貿協會) Chairman James Huang (黃志芳) in leading a delegation to the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Bangkok.
The AIT has been working closely with Taiwanese authorities to bring Taiwan into the US Department of Homeland Security’s Automated Indicator Sharing system, which shares cyberthreat indicators at machine speed, Green said.
The biggest threats today are no longer troops landing on beaches, but efforts by malign actors to use the openness of societies and networks to attack industries, democratic institutions and the integrity of critical infrastructure, he said.
Taiwan is particularly threatened by such attacks, with its public sector facing an average of 30 million cross-border cyberattacks per month last year, Department of Cybersecurity Director-General Howard Jyan (簡宏偉) said.
Although only a small fraction of them resulted in theft or tampering of confidential or sensitive information, the number of cyberattacks against Taiwan are considered high compared with European countries, which are hit by an average of several thousand attacks monthly, Jyan said.
When pressed by reporters, he estimated that about half of the attacks came from China, but said that it is not the only malign actor being given attention at this week’s exercises.
The exercises include training and exercises provided by the US government on North Korea’s cyberthreats, live-action exercises and a discussion on lessons learned, the AIT said.
A seminar on North Korean hacking makes up the first days.
The simulation, which begins tomorrow, is to see red teams made up of foreign and Taiwanese specialists launch simulated attacks on Taiwanese government and financial institutions’ Web sites, while a blue team of just Taiwanese experts are to try to detect and defend against those threats.
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