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Taiwan Says China Accounts for Most Cyber Attacks


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Neighboring countries battle it out with secret cyber armies of hackers, report says

JANUARY 17, 2008 | Taiwan officials say that 99 percent of cyber attacks on their government computers came from IP addresses in China, according to a published report in The Asahi Shimbun.

For over four years, personal computers of Taiwan’s top government officials and lawmakers associated with military and foreign affairs have been systematically hacked — mostly via Trojan malware infections. A senior official from the National Security Council in Taiwan says the cyber threat is “one of the most important ‘hidden’ issues for the security of Taiwan,” according to the report.

Taiwanese officials said three to five people were behind the China-based attacks, which originated from several different provinces, including Beijing and Fujian. Some members of the media and scientists have also been hacked.

Taiwan and China reportedly have established so-called cyber attacker “troops,” although neither country will admit the existence of these hacker soldiers, the report says. One Taiwanese security editor found a common thread in the attacks out of China: They typically began around 7 a.m. and lasted until noon, with a two-hour break before continuing until sometime in the evening.

“They (Chinese hackers) faithfully fulfill their mission as government staff, unlike private-sector hackers who rejoice by rewriting the front pages of Websites. They gave me an impression that they attack Websites in the same manner as a machine,” he said.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

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