China military hackers attack gov't websites daily, says Taiwan minister

THAILAND - The Chinese military has an "army" of hackers attacking Taiwan's government websites daily, with the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) being targeted most, a Cabinet minister has revealed.

Minister of Science and Technology Chang San-cheng said Chinese military hackers conduct massive attacks on Taiwan's government websites every day, but he did not give any specific numbers concerning the hacking.

The MAC and MOEA see the most frequent hacking as they are directly involved in cross-strait trade negotiations, Chang said during a radio interview Friday.

Chang said the Chinese hackers often start attacking the websites of other government units, using them as platforms to disguise their further attacks on the MAC and MOEA sites.

The MAC or MOEA may inadvertently give away files to the hackers thinking they are authentic personnel from other Taiwan government bodies, the minister said.

Chang said the military hackers are very different from ordinary ones who may only want to do some practical jokes.

But the military hackers' mission is to steal the government secrets of other countries, and their actions usually require more stealthy and intricate techniques.

A New York Times report last year claimed that the Chinese army of hackers is codenamed "61398 Unit," which is officially non-existent.

One of China's major telecom equipment vendors, Huawei, has found it difficult to win the trust of many countries, included Taiwan, because of security concerns.

Such security concerns have been highlighted by a recent case where smart phones from China-based vendor Xiaomi were found to be sending back phone call records to the company without the users knowing.

Chang said the Taiwan government is now testing Xiaomi's smartphones to see whether they are safe to use.

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