Taiwan Government Web Site Hacked

[ASIA] A hacker, possibly based on the Chinese mainland, invaded the principal Web site
operated by Taiwan’s Board of Foreign Trade sometime between 6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m.
Monday, Taipei time.

The hacker replaced the home page, but was prevented by firewalls from accessing sensitive data.

As of Wednesday morning, the site was still not operating. Board officials did not provide any
explanation.

Although the intruder called himself the “old cat from Chaozhou”–Chaozhou is a coastal city in
eastern Guangdong province–and politically motivated China-based hackers have in the past
attacked Taiwan government sites, officials said the hacker may be from Taiwan.

In September, a hacker apparently based in China broke into several electronic newsletters
published by Taiwanese IT companies, and posted messages wishing the people of Taiwan a
happy Mid-Autumn Festival “on behalf of their compatriots on the Chinese mainland.”

The same month, a Web site maintained by the central government’s Directorate-General of
Budget, Accounting & Statistics was also violated. In July, the confidential e-mail system of the
Finance Ministry’s Bureau of Monetary Affairs, was hacked.

The most serious intrusions occurred in July and August 1999, when comments on Taiwan’s status
by then-president Lee Teng-hui outraged the Chinese government and prompted Chinese hackers
to damage more than 72,000 Taiwan Web sites. Taiwan hackers responded in kind, posting
anti-PRC slogans and “Hello Kitty” pictures on dozens of official Chinese sites.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice recently proposed legal changes which, if approved by the island’s
parliament, would make hackers convicted of invading Web sites or databases maintained by the
government, armed forces or financial institutions liable to jail terms of up to 15 years.

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