《TAIPEI TIMES》 Cyberattacks by China are on the rise: Google
Attendees walk past an electronic display showing recent cyberattacks in China at the China Internet Security Conference in Beijing on Sept. 12, 2017. Photo: AP
INCREASED THREAT: Google’s parent company has seen China’s use of hackers against Taiwan increase greatly, with over 100 groups in China alone
China is waging a growing number of cyberattacks on Taiwan, cybersecurity experts at Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday.
Google has observed a “massive increase” in Chinese cyberattacks on Taiwan in the past six months or so, said Kate Morgan, a senior engineering manager in Google’s threat analysis division, which monitors government-sponsored hacking campaigns.
Morgan said that Chinese hackers are employing tactics that make their work difficult to track, such as breaking into small home and office Internet routers and repurposing them to wage attacks while masking their true origin.
“The number of groups in China that are performing hacking and trying to get into technology companies or get into cloud customers is huge,” Morgan said. “I don’t have the exact number, but it is probably over 100 groups that we are tracking just out of China alone.”
The hackers are going “after everything,” including Taiwan’s defense sector, government and private industry, she said.
“Taiwan is facing mounting military intimidation, gray-zone campaigns, cyberattacks and information manipulation,” Morgan said. “Taiwan remains clear eyed about the situation, and we continue to make our utmost effort to strengthen our defense capabilities and societal resilience.”
China’s and Taiwan’s foreign ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment made outside of regular business hours.
Morgan said that North Korea and Iran also continue to pose “major” hacking threats and that Russia’s cyberfocus has remained largely on Ukraine since its invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
Morgan spoke on the cybersecurity risks at an event marking the launch of a new Google cybersecurity center in Malaga, Spain.
The new hub — called a “safety engineering center” — is to house about 100 security experts from across Google and its subsidiaries such as Mandiant and Virus Total.
The company said it wants to foster collaborations with European businesses and government officials to improve cyber resilience on the continent.
Google already has two safety engineering centers in Europe — one in Dublin, Ireland, that is focused on tackling illegal and harmful content and another in Munich, Germany, that works on security and privacy engineering.
Kent Walker, Google’s president of global affairs, said the company chose Malaga for its new hub in part because Virus Total was founded there and in part because the Spanish government had adopted “pro-innovation” policies that have raised its digital profile.