Hey there, Bay Area folks! You know, it’s been quite a ride on the cyberspace rollercoaster this past year, and not just in the places you might expect. Sure, we’ve been all eyes on the Ukraine-Russia cyber situation, but did you realize there’s another flashpoint in good ol’ China-Taiwan? Yup! Cyberattacks are going through the roof, hitting everything from the power grid to communication networks, and even our much-loved semiconductor industry.
Just to give you an idea, our friends over at Fortinet unleashed this head-spinning number – 412 billion attack events in the Asia-Pacific for just the first half of 2023, with Taiwan taking the heaviest hit at 22.48 billion. That’s a whopping 80% jump from last year. It looks like they’re not just messing with Taiwan’s digital infrastructure, but muddling up their society with phony information and rumors.
Here’s a zinger – a wild story about how Taiwan was planning to import 100K migrant workers from India went viral on Taiwan’s social media. Despite Taiwan’s government putting the kibosh on the rumor, bot messages flooded their social media, trying to stir up trouble between the two nations.
With all this going on, Taiwan isn’t taking things lying down. No siree! They formed a cyber dream team called the Information Communication Electronic Force Command back in 2017. This massive group, with over 6,000 members, is all hands on deck to beef up their cyber defenses. Add to that, they’ve rolled out their National Cybersecurity program, projecting their dedication to fighting cybercrime.
See, when it comes to the world of electronics, Taiwan is a big fish. In 2021, their electronics exports hit a cool $94.8 billion. With an industry that size, they’re a dream target for cyber attackers. Combine that with China’s desire for reunification, and you’ve got a recipe for relentless cyber onslaught.
Even the U.S. Department of Defense gave a nod to this in their report to Congress, highlighting that China might just go the cyber route to try and pressure Taiwan into agreeing to a union on their terms. Post Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August 2022, cyber attacks went up by 80%.
To get a grip on the crisis, U.S. policymakers proposed the Taiwan Cybersecurity Resiliency Act in April 2023. Awaiting the green light from the Committee on Foreign Relations, it plans to ramp up cybersecurity cooperation with Taiwan, including training exercises and a joint defense of their military networks.
Taiwan’s eager to share their lessons learned from this cyber storm, but there’s a hitch. Their participation in international organizations has its limits. But they’re making inroads, playing a big role in the Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team and clinching a Global Cooperation and Training Framework agreement with the U.S, Australia, and Japan.
This shared initiative has already hosted 63 workshops with over 7,000 attendees from 126 countries, all there to soak up Taiwan’s cyber defense knowledge. Sounds like a win-win, right?
With the world seeing more and more instability, especially in the realm of cyberspace, it’s clear that sturdy defense mechanisms and global cooperation in cybersecurity are crucial. As it stands, the threats are outrunning us, and it’s time we caught up. So here’s a shout-out to all like-minded countries – let’s work together to shield our vital infrastructure and stop disruptions before they can wreak havoc.
by Morgan Phisher | HEAL Security