The Criminal Investigation Bureau has admitted that it handed out 54 malware-infested thumb drives to the public at a data security expo hosted by the Presidential Office from Dec. 11 to Dec. 15 last year.
The malware-infected USB sticks were among 250 drives that the bureau gave to the winners of a game about cybersecurity knowledge.
The malware program with the file name XtbSeDuA.exe was designed to collect personal data and transmit it to a Poland-based IP address that then bounces the information to unidentified servers, the bureau said, adding that it was known to have been used by an electronic fraud ring uncovered by Europol in 2015.
Only older, 32-bit computers are susceptible to the malware and common anti-virus software can successfully detect and quarantine it, the bureau said.
The 8-gigabyte thumb drives were purchased from contractors and some of them were made in China, but the bureau has ruled out Chinese espionage, it said, adding that the infection originated from an infected work station at New Taipei City-based contractor Shawo Hwa Industries Co (少華企業).
An employee at the company used the affected computer to transfer an operating system to the drives and test their storage capacity, transmitting the malware to 54 units, the bureau said.
Random sampling of the thumb drives, which were sourced from various contractors, failed to discover the malware, it added.
Distribution was halted in the afternoon of Dec. 12, after members of the public complained that drives had been flagged by their anti-virus programs, it said, adding that 20 drives have been recovered while 34 “remain in the wild.”
The server receiving the data from the malware was shut down after the bureau took measures to address the issue, it said.
National Police Agency Director-General Chen Chia-chin (陳家欽) and National Security Council cybersecurity adviser Lee Der-tsai (李德財) were briefed on the incident, an anonymous source said.
National security officials are unhappy that a Presidential Office event was compromised and concerned that the event might have been deliberately targeted by a hacker group, the source said, adding that they have demanded the bureau launch another probe.
The bureau has apologized to the Presidential Office and other government agencies that participated in the expo, the source said.
Taiwan does not exclude the possibility of having formal diplomatic relations with countries that also have formal ties with China, regardless of Beijing’s stance, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Sunday. There was speculation in 2012 that Honduras was attempting to have simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taiwan and China, an idea that then-minister of foreign affairs David Lin (林永樂) rejected. Honduras severed formal ties with Taiwan on Sunday morning after establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has taken a more practical approach to relations with like-minded countries since assuming government in 2016. Previous administrations took the
Seven senior faculty members, including the principal, of a high school in Taichung were temporarily suspended from their jobs on Friday, pending an investigation by the Taichung Education Bureau into alleged bullying and abuse that led to the suicide of a student last month. The city’s education officials were too slow to suspend those involved, the student’s father told a news conference on Wednesday, at which Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chang Liao Wan-chien (張廖萬堅) and members of the Humanistic Education Foundation were also present. The boy had been a good student and a high achiever during elementary and junior-high, and had
ORIGIN UNKNOWN: The Leofoo Village Theme Park and Taipei Zoo have accounted for their baboons, as authorities continue a 12-day capture attempt Authorities in Taoyuan are searching for a non-native baboon, possibly of the chacma species, that has been spotted several times in the city’s Pingjhen District (平鎮) over the past 12 days, and was most recently seen in coastal Sinwu District (新屋). The baboon was first spotted near a local factory on March 10 in central Taoyuan, Jhensing Borough Warden Huang Chih-chieh (黃志杰) said. Huang said he requested the Leofoo Village Theme Park’s help after a second sighting on Saturday. In other sightings, the baboon raided fruit and vegetable gardens on private property, and has evaded one capture attempt via a tranquilizer dart. Media reported
Taiwan would have established formal relations with Argentina long ago if not for China’s interference, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Yui told US-based Spanish-language online news outlet Infobae in an interview published on Tuesday. Beijing has left behind a string of unfulfilled promises in Latin America, including pledges to build the Grand Nicaragua Canal and airports, docks, ports and industrial zones in El Salvador, he said. Meanwhile, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and other countries enjoy pragmatic and improving relations with Taiwan based on cooperation on the economy, culture, technology and science, he said. While Taiwan is “happy to live and let live,”