Anonymous attacks Taiwanese party and government websites

PHOTO: Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Hacktivist collective Anonymous Asia attacked government and political party websites yesterday in a gesture of support for students protesting against Education Ministry plans to change curriculum guidelines.

The hacked websites, which were paralysed for over an hour, belonged to the Kuomintang, New Party and Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA).

Yesterday's denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks follow two recent operations by Anonymous Asia. The group previously used DDoS attacks to take down the official websites of the Presidential Office and Ministry of Education on July 31 and four other websites, including that of the Ministry of National Defence, on Aug. 2.

The Information Management Center at the MOEA said that DDoS attacks can be launched from anywhere in the world at anytime, and thus are difficult to prepare for. Yesterday's attacks occurred at dawn and only prevented access to the sites, the centre said, adding that no lasting damage was done or sensitive information accessed.

All government agencies have information security measures such as firewalls in place to protect their data, according to the information centre. Hackers seeking classified information attack the MOEA website daily, but the ministry's 24/7 monitoring has fended them off successfully, the centre added.

The latest cyberattack marks the second known instance of the MOEA suffering a DDoS-caused outage. The first instance occurred in 2013 when the Philippine Coast Guard fired on a Taiwan fishing boat, killing its skipper. Philippine hackers attacked Taiwan government websites amid the ensuing political tension.