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Taiwan's top telecom breached; data sold on dark web.

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In Taipei, Taiwan, a significant breach has been reported involving the country's largest telecommunications company. According to statements from the island's Ministry of National Defense, hackers infiltrated Chunghwa Telecom, leading to the theft of sensitive information, including military and government documents. The compromised data was subsequently sold on the dark web. The confirmation of this breach highlights the ongoing threat of cybersecurity attacks faced by Taiwan, a democratic island frequently targeted by malicious actors. The incident was first brought to public attention by local news channel TVBS, which reported on the hack. In a screenshot shared by TVBS, hackers were seen announcing the sale of 1.7 terabytes of data from Chunghwa Telecom, which included government contracts. The Defense Ministry, in its statement to AFP, confirmed the initial analysis that the hackers obtained sensitive information from Chunghwa Telecom and sold it online, encompassing documents from various government entities such as the armed forces, foreign affairs ministry, coast guard, and other units.

Taiwan's vulnerability to cyber threats is well-documented, with digital data experts ranking it among the top targets for such attacks. Some analysts have pointed out similarities between the tactics used against Taiwanese infrastructure and those associated with Chinese state-sponsored groups. Beijing's claim over Taiwan as part of its territory further complicates the situation, as China has not ruled out the use of force to assert control over the island. The Defense Ministry underscored that while certain documents leaked from Chunghwa Telecom, such as an air force contract, were not deemed confidential, the incident underscores the need for heightened information security measures.

Efforts are underway to mitigate future breaches, with the ministry urging the contractor involved to bolster its information security controls. Despite the breach, Chunghwa Telecom assured stakeholders that its operations remained largely unaffected. However, government officials have emphasized the persistent nature of cyber threats emanating from China, characterizing them as a form of "grey zone harassment." These tactics, which include provocative military maneuvers and digital intrusions, keep Taiwan's military and cybersecurity agencies on high alert.

Last year, Microsoft identified a China-based hacking group known as Flax Typhoon, which posed a significant threat to Taiwanese organizations. The group's activities were flagged as espionage attempts aimed at maintaining long-term access to sensitive information. The incident underscores the complex geopolitical dynamics at play in the region, with Taiwan caught in the crosshairs of escalating tensions between China and the United States. As Taiwan continues to fortify its defenses against cyber threats, the need for international cooperation and vigilance remains paramount.

March 1, 2024 1:16 p.m. 11967

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