[ISN] Beijing wages cyberwar against DPP headquarters

From: William Knowles (wk@private)
Date: Thu Jun 17 2004 - 03:48:52 PDT

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    By Ko Shu-ling
    June 16, 2004 
    An army of hackers based in China has broken into Democratic
    Progressive Party (DPP) databases, stealing classified information
    such as President Chen Shui-bian's () personal itinerary,
    according to a Cabinet official who asked not to be named.
    "This is the first time we have found that the DPP headquarters'
    computer systems were breached by Chinese hackers," the official said.  
    "The incident has sent jitters through the Ministry of National
    Defense, which deems a systematic information attack launched by China
    as military warfare."
    Information stolen from party headquarters included the personal
    itineraries of Chen, who doubles as DPP chairman, and those of other
    high-ranking party officials such as DPP Secretary-General Chang
    Chun-hsiung (iT).
    Also leaked was classified information on visits to the US by
    high-ranking DPP officials ahead of the US presidential election.
    According to the Cabinet official, the DPP headquarters was an easy
    target and the attackers were aware it would be more difficult to
    break into computer systems belonging to the Presidential Office or
    the defense ministry, where security is tighter.
    The attacks were noted a few days ago and the situation has been
    monitored 24 hours a day since.
    This is not the first time that China has conducted information
    warfare against Taiwan. Last September, the Cabinet discovered that
    hackers in Hubei and Fujian provinces had spread 23 different Trojan
    horse programs to the networks of 10 private high-tech companies in
    Taiwan and used them as a springboard to break into at least 30
    different government agencies and 50 private companies.
    The Trojan-horse programs were used against the National Police
    Administration, the defense ministry, the Central Election Commission
    and the central bank.
    Since it appeared no government information had been stolen, the
    Cabinet suspected that the program was likely aimed at paralyzing the
    nation's computer systems, stealing sensitive government information
    or preparing computers for future information warfare.
    Trojan-horses are one of the most serious threats to computer
    security. A computer user may not only have been attacked but may also
    be attacking others unknowingly.
    "Communications without intelligence is noise;  Intelligence
    without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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