First-ever U.S.-Taiwan cyber exercises open in Taipei

Taipei-The first-ever international cyber exercises co-hosted by the United States and Taiwan that opened Monday hope to combat the growing number of global cyberattacks, especially those from North Korea and China.

Speaking at Monday's opening ceremony, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Acting Director Raymond Greene said the exercises are aimed at strengthening domestic cyber defenses and related skills and promoting closer international cooperation on cybersecurity.

"Ultimately, the success of this week will be measured by whether all of you remain in close contact with each other after the exercises are over," said Greene of the exercises, known formally as the U.S.-Taiwan Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercises (CODE).

One form of future cooperation, Greene said, may be to bring Taiwan into the Department of Homeland Security's Automated Indicator Sharing system, which shares cyber threat indicators at machine speed.

The stakes are high for all the countries represented at the exercises, which opened at Microsoft Taiwan and are being attended by cybersecurity specialists from more than 10 countries, including Australia, the Czech Republic, Japan and Malaysia.

Greene warned that the biggest threats today are no longer troops landing on beaches, but efforts by malign actors to use the openness of societies and networks to attack industries, democratic institutions and the integrity of critical infrastructure.

Taiwan is particularly threatened by such attacks, after its public sector faced an average of 30 million cross-border cyberattacks per month in 2018, according to Howard Jyan (???), director general of the central government's Cyber Security Department.

Though only a small fraction of them resulted in theft or tampering of confidential or sensitive information, the number of cyberattacks against Taiwan are considered high compared to European countries, which are hit by an average of only several thousand attacks monthly, Jyan said.

When pressed by reporters, Jyan estimated that about half of all the attacks came from China, but that is not the only malign actor being given attention at this week's exercises.

The five-day activity, only part of which is being held at Microsoft Taiwan, will also focus on combating cyber threats from North Korea, Greene said.

The exercises include training and exercises provided by the U.S. government on North Korea's cyber threats, live-action cyber exercises between Taiwan and regional partners, and a discussion on lessons learned, according to the AIT.

Cybersecurity specialists from partner countries will launch simulated attacks on websites of Taiwan's government and financial institutions, while the Taiwan side will try to detect and defend against those threats, a participant said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel