Taiwan plans to beef up its cyber-war capabilities to counter a perceived threat from Chinese hackers targeting government and security websites, local media reported today.

Taiwan will expand its cyber-war units next year while scaling back military spending due to budget constraints, the Taipei-based Liberty Times reported, citing a 2013 budget plan submitted by the National Security Bureau to parliament for approval.

In the six months to June, hackers launched more than one million attacks on the bureau’s website, making it one of the most heavily targeted government sites, the paper said.

“All the attacks were detected and blocked, and no hackers have ever broken into the bureau’s official website,” the paper said, without specifying the number of attacks from China.

But in a report also sent to parliament for reference on Beijing’s continued military buildup, the bureau highlighted the perceived cyber-war threat from China, the paper said.

“China’s cyber-war capabilities were organised by the military and government units, using Internet viruses to attack Taiwan’s government, economic and military websites,” it cited the military report as saying.

Taiwanese government websites have frequently come under cyber attack from China, usually during disputes between the two sides.

Ties have improved markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power in 2008, on a platform of ramping up trade and tourism links with the mainland. He was re-elected in January for a second and the last four-year term.

China still considers Taiwan part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the island has ruled itself for more than 60 years after their split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.

(This article was published on September 2, 2012)
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