[ISN] Suspected Chinese hacker attacks target AIT, MND

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Mon Jun 19 03:44:54 EDT 2006


June 19, 2006

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Ministry of National
Defense (MND) were both recently targeted by computer hackers believed
to be based in China, Defense News reported last week.

The report cited anonymous AIT and defense ministry sources, who said
the attackers were believed to have been China-based hackers looking
to spread misinformation.

On June 5, a hacker sent an e-mail to the media with an attachment
containing a fake press release from the military spokesman's office,
the report said. The release described a meeting between People First
Party mem-bers and ministry officials, and was riddled with
distortions and lies, Defense News reported last Tuesday.

Shortly after the e-mail was sent out, officials scrambled to warn
local media not to download any attachments purportedly sent from the

Some outlets had already reported the story, but others sought
confirmation from officials and were told that that the e-mails were
part of a smear campaign targeting the ministry, the Defense News
report said.

"Our computer was [infected] by a virus. That virus sent a news
release to the media. Some of the information [in the release] was
incorrect," a ministry source reportedly told Defense News.

The report also stated that the account number and password of the
ministry's Web mail system, operated by Chunghwa Telecom, were stolen
by hackers.

So frequent and serious are cyber attacks against government agencies
that the Straits Exchange Foundation, which handles cross-strait
communications with China, issued a letter of complaint to China in
2003, the report said, adding that China did not respond to the

Private companies also routinely come under attack by China-based
hackers, making Taiwan the most hacked country in the world, according
to a Central News Agency report in April. The Defense News report
cited local media claims that the nation suffered 250,000 cyber
attacks between 1996 and 2000.

China's People's Liberation Army is widely believed to have a special
unit devoted to information warfare and computer hacking.
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