The government should accelerate cultivation of cybersecurity talent and comprehensively inspect information security systems across Taiwan to cope with an increasing number of cyberattacks from China, the New Power Party (NPP) said yesterday.
Chinese hackers have stepped up efforts against Taiwan following a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week, attacking government and private Web sites, the party said.
While the cyberattacks show that China is the real destroyer of regional peace and security, they have also exposed loopholes in Taiwan’s cyberdefenses, NPP caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) said.
Photo: Yang Cheng-yu, Taipei Times
The Executive Yuan underestimated the Chinese threat when it said that this wave of cyberattacks had yet to reach crisis levels, Chiu said.
Taiwan last year recorded 17 “level 3” information security breaches in the government sector, including a ransomware attack against CPC Corp, Taiwan, which disrupted gas station operations nationwide, he said.
Cyberattacks that began last week have compromised the accuracy of government information by changing information on Web sites and electronic bulletin boards, he said.
“The government should use this opportunity to comprehensively inspect Taiwan’s information security systems and require government agencies to report security breaches involving key infrastructure,” he said. “Experts should be invited to review the reasons for this wave of cyberattacks, gauge its effects and propose ways to enhance safety.”
In addition to banning more Chinese electronic products, the Executive Yuan should stipulate information security standards and encourage reports of weak points in the information security system, Chiu said.
NPP Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭) said that information security loopholes are mainly caused by a shortage of talent.
The National Audit Office’s 2020 Central Government Final Account Review Report showed that 35 percent of “level A” to “level C” government agencies lacked information security personnel, Wang said.
The Financial Supervisory Commission last year ordered that 2,300 government agencies, as well as publicly listed and over-the-counter firms, must have an executive in charge of information security and one or two information security experts, which has created demand for nearly 10,000 people with cybersecurity training, she said.
Although the Executive Yuan has set a goal of cultivating 350 cybersecurity experts by 2024, there will still be a shortage in the government and the private sector, she said.
The Executive Yuan and the soon-to-be-established Ministry of Digital Affairs must offer more incentives for the government, industry and academia to meet the demand for information security personnel, Wang said.
To close security loopholes in telecommunication systems, Taiwan should consider subsidizing smaller telecoms to replace equipment manufactured by Chinese firms Huawei Inc and ZTE Corp as the US government has done, she said.
In other news, central government agencies have been asked to maintain a high alert and be prepared to activate contingency measures to respond to denial-of-service attacks.
From Thursday to Saturday last week, the number of malicious connections to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site peaked at 170 million per minute, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday.
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