TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s main opposition party said Tuesday its headquarters has been the target of a sustained hacking attack from China and one instance of hacking from the government in Taipei.
Deputy Director Alex Huang of the Democratic Progressive Party’s Policy Research Committee linked the computer attacks to Taiwan’s quadrennial presidential and legislative elections, scheduled for January.
“Most of our party officials have had their emails hacked into and we have lost sensitive documents concerning campaign schedules and promotional material,” Huang said. “Some of the computers have been planted with Trojan horse viruses so hackers could monitor the machines’ activities.”
Huang said that DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s email had not been affected.
Citing the conclusions of a computer security firm, Huang says one source of Chinese attacks was the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bureau of China’s official Xinhua News Agency. He says the Chinese hacking had been going on since March, with some attacks coming from the mainland and others from the Chinese territory of Hong Kong.
He declined to name the computer security firm that had carried out the work but said it had done so on a voluntary basis.
Phone calls to Xinhua’s press office in Beijing went unanswered. China has consistently denied that it is behind any hacking, and says that it is also a victim of hacking.
On the basis of an internal DPP investigation, Huang says the government attack was a one-off effort originating in the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission of the executive branch in Taipei.
Commission Deputy Minister Yu Hsieh-sung said the agency was investigating the DPP allegation but suggested that any hacking from the commission’s offices took place without official sanction.
Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949. China still claims Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing has long denounced the DPP for its pro-independence stance.
Since President Ma Ying-jeou of the Nationalists took office in May 2008, he has moved to improve China ties and facilitated several landmark trade deals with Beijing.
Beijing is relatively comfortable working with Ma and favors him over Tsai in the upcoming presidential elections.
Earlier this month, computer security company McAfee Inc. said an unnamed country was likely behind a wide-ranging series of hacking attacks over the past five years aimed at stealing troves of data from governments, nonprofit groups and corporations around the world. McAfee said Taiwan was among the targets.
McAfee did not name any suspects in the hacking attacks but analysts suggested it was China — a charge Beijing has denied.