Hackers Bolstering Cyber Security in Taiwan

Hackers Bolstering Cyber Security in Taiwan
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像
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Translated and compiled by Bing-sheng Lee

On April 25, Hacks in Taiwan (HIT) association celebrated its first anniversary. Vice Premier Woody Duh attended the anniversary party and praised the group for its efforts, showing the government’s support.

Duh said that in the past, hackers were always worried that the government was against their ideas, but his attendance of the party shows the government now recognizes the hackers’ efforts.

In recent years, HIT has developed new talents, honed hackers’ skills, and improved Taiwan’s information security by organizing a wide array of activities and forums, which the government is willing to support and invest in, according to Duh.

Duh said that the conventional education system is unable to develop talent for information security, so Hackers in Taiwan Conference (HITCON) is an important platform for the exchange of skills and information. The association can train hackers not only to become the best in the country, but also shine in international hacker contests.

In his speech at the party, Duh said that the government always thought that it had to take the initiative in launching important policies and campaigns, but the myth is now debunked. The government hopes more people from private sectors can take the initiative and it can offer help when they are in need.

HITCON was established in 2004 and has brought together Taiwanese hackers and since held conferences to exchange ideas.

Tsai Sung-ting, head of the HIT association, says that in 2009, the conference disclosed Chinese hackers’ activities and their attack strategies. Two years later, the conference expanded to let Taiwan information security experts learn from foreign hacker groups and their techniques.

In 2015, HITCON was authorized to found the HIT association, which entitles them to hold events as an official organization.

Hong Wei-kan, general manager of Trend Micro, a Taiwan-based information security company, says Taiwan’s human resources in information security is appealing because of people’s solid education profiles and adaptability to foreign environments. As a result, Chinese companies have vigorously hired talent from Taiwan in the past few years.

Hong mentions that Taiwan’s information security market is still not big enough for all the talent in the country, so related companies in Taiwan should invest more in the industry to expand the market as well as raise awareness of information security.

The HIT association will hold HITCON PACIFIC, an international hackers conference, in December.

Information security becoming a trending topic in Taiwan

Private corporations, organizations and the Taiwanese government have put more emphasis on information security in recent years.

According to data released by the National Information and Communication Security Taskforce, the budget for information security has increased over the years. In 2013, information security only accounted for around 4% of the overall information technology budget, but the number rose to almost 6% in 2014. While the 2015 statistics have not been released, the budget for information security is expected to be higher than previous years.

On March 7 and 8, Taiwan InfoSec Conference 2016 was held at the Taipei International Conference Center. More than 3,500 people participated in the conference, which is 1,000 more than in 2015, when the event was first introduced to Taiwan.

Many participants said that Taiwan InfoSec Conference has already become one of the major information security conferences in Asia. The scale of the conference is now comparable to the RSA Conference held in Singapore, the world’s biggest information security event.

During this year’s Taiwan InfoSec Conference, Lance Dubsky, former chief information security officer of the US National Geospatial-intelligence Agency, said that Taiwan is facing serious information security threats.

According to a research study conducted by FireEye, a cyber security company, over a span of six months last year, Taiwan suffered the most number of cyber attacks across the globe.

Dubsky said that many services provided on the internet have become the targets of criminal hackers, resulting in many severe information leaks. He believes that internet companies have to constantly improve their information security strategies to counter the evolving strategies of hackers.

Chang Yu-ming, a senior manager at Trend Micro, says the growing popularity of mobile devices, smart appliances, and the so-called Internet of Things has brought more unexpected risks to information security. Criminal hackers now have found more channels and loopholes to steal personal and business information from.

Pu Shu-sheng, manager of the British Standards Institute Taiwan Representative Office, says technology risks have already surpassed economic ones.

Chan Tzu-ming, consultant for Taiwan Computer Emergency Response Team / Coordination Center, says the most important task in Taiwan’s information security this year is to establish better connections among private enterprises to allow fluid exchange and communication of information security.

Kyle Wilhoit, senior researcher at Trend Micro, says the company has conducted recent research showing that the three leading sources of private information leaks come from inside organizations, hacker or malware attacks and mobile devices.

Edited by Olivia Yang

Sources:
Liberty Times
New Tang Dynasty Television
CNA
“Hacker group lauded for improving Taiwan’s information security" (CNA)
Awakening News Networks
iThome