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US and Taiwan hold first joint cyber-war exercise

Taiwanese officials are being targeted by phishing emails and texts as part of a week-long simulated cyber-war event billed as the first of its kind.

The local government is co-hosting the tests with the American Institute in Taiwan, which represents US interests on the island.

AIT said the focus was threats posed by “North Korea and other actors”.

But Taiwan has previously said that most of the cyberattacks it experiences come from mainland China.

“Dealing with such attacks is like fighting a battle every day,” a Taiwanese official said last month.

The exercises are set to run until Friday and will involve attempts to hack into government websites by fooling workers into accepting malicious communications. Private companies will also be challenged.

“For Taiwan, mainland China is viewed as one of the main sources of cyber-attacks on the island,” commented Veerle Nouwens from the UK-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies.

“The director-general of Taiwan’s Cyber Security Agency has been quoted as saying that the Taiwanese government’s networks receive an estimated 30 million attacks a month, about half of which are suspected to come from China.

“However, irrespective of the originating country, strengthening cyber-security is increasingly a top priority for any government or private sector company.”

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