By Dimitri Bruyas
The China Post
January 10, 2008
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The government has set up a special team of experts to
prevent Chinese Internet hackers from manipulating the results of the
upcoming elections, an official from the Cabinet-level Science and
Technology Advisory Group (STAG) said yesterday.
The official made the remark during a press conference held by the
Government Information Office to assess all agencies' preparedness for
the legislative elections slated for Saturday.
The National Information and Communication Security Task Force (NICST)
is composed of Internet experts in charge of preventing malicious
computer attacks on the government's election facilities and operations
before and during the elections, Kuo Yiao-huang, executive secretary of
In a string of recent incidents, Chinese computer hackers have allegedly
broken into high-security networks in the U.S. and other countries.
During the summer 2007, governments of Germany, Australia, New Zealand,
and Britain reported intrusions from what they described as Chinese
Kuo noted the task force was formed last November under the code name
"Guard Project." Its responsibilities include screening the Central
Election Commission's (CEC) information security measures, ensuring CEC
Web site security, and monitoring CEC Web site services and election
affairs system operations round-the-clock.
He added that in October and December last year, CEC's computers had
been hit by malicious virus-spreading e-mails.
But no other significant threats against the government's information
and communication security have been reported since the NICST was
established, he said.
According to Chinese-language media, China has long been accused of
using cyberwarfare as a critical component of its asymmetrical warfare
tactics for any future conflict with foreign countries.
In 1999, after U.S. military planes "accidentally" bombed Beijing's
embassy in Belgrade, Chinese hackers conducted cyberbattles with their
U.S. counterparts over the Internet.
According to two detailed studies conducted by Verisign, an
Internet-security company based in California, the self-proclaimed
"Network Crack Program Hacker" from China has created nearly 35 programs
aiming at taking advantage of vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office
The Trojans take partial control of an infected computers, which can be
used to send documents, photos and other files over the Internet without
the users being able to notice it.
However, Kuo said the CEC's counting of votes was not "vulnerable to
cyberspace attacks" because the agency's vote-counting system was not
connected to the Internet.
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