Taiwan should brace for Chinese cyber threat: report

28-Jan-2019 Intellasia | Mainichi | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The likelihood of China damaging or corrupting submarine fiber cables and related communication infrastructure that connect Taiwan to the outside world should not be underestimated or overlooked, according to a copy of a defense newsletter obtained by Kyodo News on Friday.

Tzeng Yi-suo of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research warned of the potential threat of cyber warfare across the Taiwan Strait in an analysis he wrote about cybersecurity in the January English-language issue of Defense Situation Monthly. The publication is authored by experts of the government-funded think tank.

There are two ways China could launch a cyberattack on Taiwan, said Tzeng, chief of the institute’s Division of Cyber Warfare and Information Security. One is to cut off Taiwan’s communications to the outside world, and the other is to force the Taiwan government to respond to China’s cyber sabotage with a shutdown of the island’s internet service.

On cutting off Taiwan’s communications to the outside world, Tzeng said China could directly damage the physical cable connections at Taiwan’s four landing stations or go after the undersea cables laid at depths of less than 300 meters.

China could also coerce the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to change the root domain of Taiwan from “.tw” to a subdomain or variant of “.cn.”

As with China’s gradual usurpation of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, an effort by Beijing to edit Taiwan’s root domain name would not only hurt Taiwan in the international cyber community but, perhaps more critically, allow Border Gateway Protocol hijacking by China, Tzeng said.

In other words, data flowing in and out of Taiwan could be compromised, he added.

On forcing Taiwan to shut down its internet service, Tzeng said it could be the response to large-scale disruption and destruction of the society and economy caused by China’s cyberattack or distribution of disinformation through cyberspace.

“Especially for submarine cables relayed via Taiwan, if there is a malicious disconnection, not only will global data transmission be interrupted, but it raises the risk of data getting hacked,” Tzeng said, adding the international community must be deeply aware of the consequences of this scenario.

Taiwan has been governed separately from the mainland since the two split amid a civil war in 1949. Beijing has since considered Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.



Category: Taiwan

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