Taiwan to test cyber defense in first joint exercise with US

09/22/2019 03:06 PM
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Photo for illustrative purposes only / Image taken from Unsplash
Photo for illustrative purposes only / Image taken from Unsplash

Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) Taiwan will soon test its cyberwar defense capabilities in the first-ever Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercises to be held with the United States in November, Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told CNA Sunday.

Chen, who concurrently serves as head of the Cabinet department for information security, told CNA that in the wake of increasing cyber attacks targeting Taiwan's government, the department has been holding regular cyber security drills to test the readiness and responsive capabilities of related authorities.

As part of ongoing efforts to respond to such threats, Chen said Taiwan and the U.S. will jointly hold a first-ever five-day Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercises in early November.

News of the drill was first announced by American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen during a cybersecurity forum in Taipei on Sept. 17. AIT represents U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

According to Chen, the upcoming exercises will be similar to the Cyber Storm exercises, which are the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's biennial exercises to strengthen cyber preparedness in the public and private sectors.

First launched in 2006, the biennial exercises were last held in Spring 2018.

Chen said the upcoming exercises in Taiwan will be divided into two parts, with the first testing the response of government staff and officials to phishing emails or text messages, which are the most common form of cyber attack.

The second part of the drill is to examine responses in the public and private sectors to cyber attacks launched from foreign and local countries, he noted.

According to the plan, the Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercises will bring together 15 countries to address simulated cyber threats from North Korea, targeting social engineering, critical infrastructure, and financial institutes, Chen added.

He would not name the 15 countries individually, saying only that the participating teams are Asian, European and American.

In the November drill teams will be designated blue (defense) and red (attack), with Taiwan's security team as the blue team and the 15 other countries as the red team.

The simulated attack will attempt to hack official Taiwan government websites to test the capability of local cyber security teams to protect them and respond to the potential effects of such attacks, Chen said.

Taiwan is hoping that the debut cyber security drill will not only prepare the government for future attacks but also help Taiwan and other countries to form a joint cyber security network, he added.

(By Ku Chuan and Joseph Yeh)


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