Taiwan yesterday said that hacking groups linked to the Chinese government had attacked at least 10 government agencies and about 6,000 e-mail accounts of government officials in an “infiltration” to steal important data.
“Chinese hacking groups have been infiltrating government agencies and their information service providers for a long time,” said Liu Chia-zung (劉家榮), deputy director of the Cyber Security Investigation Office of the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau (MJIB).
“They were aiming to acquire important government documents and data,” Liu told reporters at a briefing in Taipei. “Some government data might have been leaked. This has posed a great threat.”
Photo: Yimou Lee, Reuters
The attacks started as early as 2018, Liu’s office said.
Liu identified four main groups of hackers: Blacktech, Taidoor, MustangPanda and APT40.
While they managed to gain access to government systems, Liu said that investigators had been unable to identify what data has been stolen, other than a leak of about 6,000 government e-mails in one case, as the hackers had covered their tracks.
Among those who were attacked and infiltrated by two of the hacking groups were at least four Taiwanese tech companies that had been providing information services to the government, the office said.
Liu said the government believes that the hacking groups Blacktech and Taidoor are backed by the Chinese Communist Party.
They targeted loopholes in the systems provided by the government’s information service providers, he said.
Government agencies should increase scrutiny of their providers, Liu said.
He said his office was investigating service supply chains to see if any Taiwanese firms or individuals worked with the hackers.
Taiwan has long been wary of Chinese hackers’ attempts to infiltrate its systems.
In the run-up to January’s presidential election, Department of Cyber Security Director Jyan Hong-wei (簡宏偉) estimated that Chinese agencies attempted about 30 million cyberattacks per month against Taiwan.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office did not respond to a request for comment on Liu’s allegations.
The Chinese government routinely denies involvement in hacking and has said that it punishes those who do it.
Additional reporting by staff writer and Bloomberg
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