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[ISN] Taiwan claims upper hand in hackers' war with rival China
By Annie Huang
Associated Press Writer
May 8th, 2007
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Taiwan's advanced computer technology helps the
military fend off hacker attacks in continuing virtual skirmishes with
rival China, a military official said Tuesday.
Chinese hacker offensives, mostly carried out by sending e-mails with
destructive programs, are a daily threat for the Taiwanese military,
said Maj. Gen. Chai Hui-jen, the Ministry of Defense's senior computer
"We receive massive amounts of e-mails everyday, many attached with
Trojan horse ... programs, which are found to have connections to either
Beijing or Hong Kong," she told a ministry news conference.
However, the island's status as one of the most advanced computer makers
in the world helps it cope with the onslaught, she said.
Taiwan "is superior in technical skills to the mainland," she said in
reference to the country's advantage in electronic warfare.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war, and computer hacking
is part of the low-level conflict that persists between the two sides.
Taiwanese officials believe Beijing would try to cripple Taiwanese
computer systems as a prelude to a real attack.
The mainland has threatened an attack if Taiwan moves to formalize its
de facto independence.
Taiwan's computer security was called into question last month when
Chinese hackers breached a computer used by a Taiwanese military
official and obtained a seating chart at a planned military exercise to
be attended by President Chen Shui-bian and other senior officials.
The Defense Ministry says the breach occurred because an official
downloaded the seating chart to his home computer, where the
government's normally high computer security standards were not in
The ministry has since stepped up its efforts to police the downloading
of classified information to personal computers.
Chai said military computers are equipped with a special system to
isolate them from other computers and are well protected from hackers.
"We've closely monitored the hacking activities to ensure the security
of our military command systems," she said.
Chai acknowledged that in the event of war with Beijing, Taiwan would
also try to hack into Chinese computers, but declined to give details.
She said Taiwanese law permits the military to draft civilian computer
experts if hostilities break out, but expressed the hope that such a
move would never be necessary.
"We hope (computer) attacks can be reduced so everyone can freely
utilize cyberspace," she said.
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