Formosa Television (FTV) reported an intensive series of cyberattacks while China’s People’s Liberation Army conducted live-fire military exercises, the National Communications Commission said yesterday.
The television station was the only broadcast media in Taiwan to report a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, Department of Infrastructure and Cybersecurity Deputy Director Wu Ming-ren (吳銘仁) said, adding that the network reported information security breaches on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and yesterday.
“The cyberattacks have mainly affected FTV’s Web site and its live broadcast over YouTube,” Wu said. “The YouTube content was changed by hackers on Saturday.”
The volume of the cyberattacks varied from 3 to 10 megabits per second, he said, adding that they had eased by yesterday.
The television station has followed procedures outlined in the Cybersecurity Management Act (資通安全管理法) to report the security breaches to the commission within one hour of their occurence, Wu said, adding that the network also adopted measures to address the security breaches within 72 hours.
There are two types of DDoS attack, Wu said.
One is to block access to a Web site by using Internet protocol packets to cause severe bandwidth congestion and the other is to overwhelm a Web site by drastically increasing the number of user applications linked to it, he said.
FTV has multiple ways to defend its network from both types of DDoS attack, he said.
“The television station can ask Internet service providers [ISPs] to deal with cyberattacks or use Web application firewalls to isolate its network from certain user applications,” Wu said.
“ISPs can use gateways to block offshore Internet protocol addresses, or the television station can build a separate network to diversify the risks of cyberattacks,” he said.
To prevent Chinese hackers from infiltrating Taiwan’s terrestrial and cable television networks, the commission has asked all broadcast media operators to carefully review their content before they are aired, Wu said.
On Sunday, FTV in a statement said that its signal source host was hacked, causing content on its YouTube channel to be different from what it broadcast on TV.
The breach affected only its live online content, the network said, adding that operations of its terrestrial and cable channels proceeded uninterrupted.
“We were notified about the incident at 8:52pm on Saturday and removed the content by 8:54pm,” FTV said. “We have been handling cyberattacks that have happened recently to ensure the safety of our broadcast.”
Screenshots taken by FTV viewers showed that the network’s YouTube channel displaying pro-China statements, including: “China’s territorial sovereignty cannot be interfered by outsiders,” “I would like to use the youth of our generation to defend the prosperous China” and “Public opinion must not be violated, and playing with fire will surely set oneself on fire.”
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