Chinese military cyberattacks targeting civil sectors: report

04/27/2013 06:43 PM

Taipei, April 27 (CNA) The National Security Bureau (NSB) believes that the Chinese military has shifted the emphasis of cyberattacks on Taiwan from government institutions to civilian think tanks, telecommunications service providers, Internet node facilities and traffic signal control systems, according to an NSB report.

The report on Taiwan's measures to stem attacks by China's Internet army and hackers was prepared for lawmakers' reference ahead of a planned legislative hearing on the issue on April 29 that will be attended by NSB, Ministry of National Defense, and Criminal Investigation Bureau officials.

In the report, the NSB said Chinese hackers are trying to break Taiwan's defense mechanisms by engaging in massive "social engineering" practices (which fool people into divulging confidential information or giving access to their computers) on key persons in targeted organizations.

Their goal is to acquire as much control as possible over the unit's internal Internet system before moving to steal or forge information, or paralyze Internet communication.

The bureau said the Chinese military has shifted its targets from government institutions and overseas consulates to civil sectors, including private think tanks, telecommunication service providers and contract businesses.

The attacks are also targeting Internet node facilities with loose protection shields, traffic signal control systems, broadband routers, industrial micro-computer controllers and network-attached storage systems.

In the future, the attacks may turn to Taiwan's key infrastructure facilities and individuals, the NSB warned, saying that through their cyber infiltration, hackers could collect information such as political party plans, economic and trade analysis reports, academic works and data on key infrastructure facilities and systems.

According to NSB statistics, its external websites were hit by hackers 3.34 million times in 2012, most of which were scouting moves that increased Internet flows instead of actual attacks.

There were over 70,000 malicious hacking attempts last year but they were all successfully blocked, the bureau said.

The NSB suggested a number of measures to improve Internet security, including reinforcing the protection of key telecommunications infrastructure facilities, integrating government resources related to cyber security, and expanding Internet intelligence collection networks, according to the report.

(By Wen Kuei-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu)

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