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As the 2016 presidential election is coming up in Taiwan, according to a report from Bloomberg, the information security company FireEye says that the Chinese state-backed hacker group, APT16, is attacking the DPP and Taiwanese media to steal DPP confidential information in an attempt to influence the election results next month.

Apple Daily reports, FireEye’s report also mentions that APT16 has not only sent phishing e-mails with the subject line, “DPP’s Contact Information Update," to Taiwanese media, but also infiltrated e-mails of the DPP staff, changing security protocols and writing messages spoofing the account holders. About 50 party staff members have been hacked.

As well as not wanting the DPP in power, China may want to understand the party better so as to undermine them with access to non-public information, FireEye Principal Threat Intelligence Analyst Jordan Berry says.

Liberty Times reports, Chen Wan-yi, deputy director of international affairs at the DPP, is among the victims. She told Bloomberg that she noticed inconsistencies in a colleague’s writing style, so Chen called to check if her colleague had sent the mail, but she said no.

With concerns about the security of their work accounts, some of the DPP staff switched to Gmail, Chen said. Chen’s Gmail account was compromised when hackers turned off the two-step identification verification process by deleting her mobile number, and adding a forwarding address so that all incoming e-mails went to an external Gmail account.

China Times reports, DPP spokesperson Wang Min-sheng says, DPP has always been under hacker attacks. They attack through paralyzing web pages, infiltrating e-mail accounts, sending malicious codes under fake identities and so on. With the elections coming soon, the frequency of hacker attacks is picking up. In response to these attacks, the DPP has enforced education on information security, and asked colleagues to stay alert.

Storm Media reports, the attacks conducted by APT16 come weeks after the Chinese President Xi Jinping said at an Internet conference in Wuzhen that countries should respect cyber sovereignty and cyberspace must not become a battlefield between states. He also called for better cooperation based on mutual respect and trust in fighting cyber-attacks among the international society.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang