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[ISN] Experts guard CEC against China hackers


By Dimitri Bruyas
The China Post
January 10, 2008

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government has set up a special team of experts to 
prevent Chinese Internet hackers from manipulating the results of the 
upcoming elections, an official from the Cabinet-level Science and 
Technology Advisory Group (STAG) said yesterday.

The official made the remark during a press conference held by the 
Government Information Office to assess all agencies' preparedness for 
the legislative elections slated for Saturday.

The National Information and Communication Security Task Force (NICST) 
is composed of Internet experts in charge of preventing malicious 
computer attacks on the government's election facilities and operations 
before and during the elections, Kuo Yiao-huang, executive secretary of 
the STAG.

In a string of recent incidents, Chinese computer hackers have allegedly 
broken into high-security networks in the U.S. and other countries.

During the summer 2007, governments of Germany, Australia, New Zealand, 
and Britain reported intrusions from what they described as Chinese 

Kuo noted the task force was formed last November under the code name 
"Guard Project." Its responsibilities include screening the Central 
Election Commission's (CEC) information security measures, ensuring CEC 
Web site security, and monitoring CEC Web site services and election 
affairs system operations round-the-clock.

He added that in October and December last year, CEC's computers had 
been hit by malicious virus-spreading e-mails.

But no other significant threats against the government's information 
and communication security have been reported since the NICST was 
established, he said.

According to Chinese-language media, China has long been accused of 
using cyberwarfare as a critical component of its asymmetrical warfare 
tactics for any future conflict with foreign countries.

In 1999, after U.S. military planes "accidentally" bombed Beijing's 
embassy in Belgrade, Chinese hackers conducted cyberbattles with their 
U.S. counterparts over the Internet.

According to two detailed studies conducted by Verisign, an 
Internet-security company based in California, the self-proclaimed 
"Network Crack Program Hacker" from China has created nearly 35 programs 
aiming at taking advantage of vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office 

The Trojans take partial control of an infected computers, which can be 
used to send documents, photos and other files over the Internet without 
the users being able to notice it.

However, Kuo said the CEC's counting of votes was not "vulnerable to 
cyberspace attacks" because the agency's vote-counting system was not 
connected to the Internet.

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