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Taiwan fights expanding Chinese cyber-attacks


Computer network intrusions at the National Security Bureau and other Taiwan agencies, many originating in China, have spread into the private sector and people's daily life, Taiwan's National Security Bureau said Monday.

Deputy Director General Chang Kuang-yuan told a legislative committee that Chinese hackers have expanded their attacks on government websites to those of think tanks, government contractors, telecommunications service providers and traffic control systems.

Soon Chinese hackers will make inroad into Taiwan's key infrastructure and individual computers, political parties, economic analysts, academics and telecommunication providers or simply paralyze the operations of the island's computer networks, he said.

Last year alone, Chang said his bureau was attacked 334,000 times, 70,000 of which were malicious "cyber-activities" and the rest were meant to slow down the Internet traffic flow.

Developing the military potential of cyberspace has been a priority of China's People's Liberation Army, Chang said, adding the PLA has significantly improved its cyber-warfare capacity since 2002.

Budgets earmarked for this year have exceeded US$800 million, Chang said, and about 100,000 hackers are from the Chinese military.

To counter these attacks, the Taiwan government formed a Cabinet-level task force in 2003 and upgraded it to a standing office in March 2011.

The National Security Council followed up with a similar establishment dedicated to the same tasks in April 2011.

Over the past three years, Chang said his bureau has earmarked budgets to build cyber-defense systems and cyber-security warning systems.

While the budgets are comparatively modest, Chang urged individuals to strengthen their fundamental cyber-security concepts and telecommunications service providers to join forces with the government to fight cyber-warfare.