The DDoS attacks also targeted the country’s largest airport, the Defence and Foreign Ministry.
As US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began her visit to Taiwan, the island nation’s websites were hit with a series of DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks). While it is not yet clear who was behind the attacks, experts say that they could be the work of Chinese hackers.
Among the affected websites are the official website of the president of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen, the website of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the website of Taiwan Taoyuan International, the country’s largest airport, and the National Defense Ministry, etc.
According to the Presidential Palace spokesperson Chang Tun-Han on Facebook, the DDoS attack on the President’s website lasted for about 20 minutes. However, at the time of publishing this article, other than the website of the Ministry of National Defense, all known targeted sites were back online.
For your information, a DDoS attack is a cyber-attack where multiple compromised devices, typically infected with a Trojan, are used to target a single system, service, or website. The aim of the attack is to saturate the target system or service with traffic, resulting in a denial of service for legitimate users.
John Hultquist, Vice President of Intelligence Analysis at Mandiant told Hackread.com that DDoS attacks on Taiwanese cyberinfrastructure come as no surprise. Hultquist anticipates that Chinese threat actors are also carrying out significant cyber espionage against targets in Taiwan and the U.S. to provide intelligence on the crisis.
Chinese actors have responded with cyber attacks to political crises like the Belgrade embassy bombing and the Hainan island incident in the past, but compared to their peers, they have not heavily leveraged this capability. On rare occasions, Chinese state actors have been linked to DDoS capability, destructive attacks, and possible probing of critical infrastructure. Nonetheless, we believe China is capable of significant cyber attacks inside Taiwan and abroad.”
John Hultquist, Vice President of Intelligence Analysis at Mandiant.
This is not the first time that Taiwan has been targeted in a cyber attack; in fact, the island nation is often a target of Chinese hackers due to its strong relationship with the United States.