Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) officials yesterday confirmed that the digital display networks of several 7-Eleven outlets and a Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) station had been hacked, displaying messages attacking US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday, despite warnings and threats from Beijing, which said it would consider her visit a major provocation.
Digital displays at several 7-Eleven outlets displayed a message in Chinese that read: “Warmonger Pelosi get out of Taiwan,” with an image of her grimacing face.
Photo grab from the Baofei Commune Facebook page
The bureau said the server of the chain stores’ contractor had been hacked.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said it was most likely the handiwork of Chinese hackers, who also targeted Kaohsiung’s New Zuoying Railway Station, whose digital display showed a message in simplified Chinese calling Pelosi an “old witch.”
“This is an attack on Taiwan through cyberwarfare. It is very serious, and we must find ways to block it and take countermeasures,” Chao said.
Photo copied by Cheng-feng, Taipei Times
“Taiwan is facing a hooligan country, and such large-scale hacking could be the initial phase of Chinese military maneuvers,” he added. “It has happened to 7-Eleven stores, which shows that any smart online network operated by the government and private sectors could be disabled and shut down by hackers. Taiwan must deal with this scenario in our military wargames.”
The bureau said that Taipei-based Hsuan Yang Advertising Co, which operates the Taiwan Railways Administration’s signboards, was hacked at about 10am yesterday.
Railway officials said they cut off the signboard’s power quickly, and alerted its contractor to shut down all operating signboards while it worked on the problem.
The TRA said its Web site and database were not compromised as they run on a different network.
Experts said the hacking incident exposed possible problems, such as the likelihood of the contractor having links to China or Chinese funding, or that the TRA did not strictly require compliance with regulations banning the use of China-made hardware and software.
As many devices are linked via Internet-of-Things networks and passwords can be easily hacked, it is concerning that the railway network, a part of the nation’s basic infrastructure, is vulnerable to intrusion by hackers and that other government sites might also be compromised, they said.
Additional reporting by AFP
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