Taiwan outlines security plans to battle hackers

Concern over Taiwan's information security has grown since a major bank had scores of its ATMs hacked in July 2016.
Concern over Taiwan's information security has grown since a major bank had scores of its ATMs hacked in July 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - Taiwan must boost its information security systems to protect against hackers who target the island's financial services and banking systems, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Monday (Dec 11), unveiling a three-pronged strategy against attacks.

Concern over Taiwan's information security has grown since a major bank had scores of its ATMs hacked in July last year. And in October, hackers targeted the money transfer system of Taiwan Far Eastern Bank.

Ms Tsai outlined three information security goals, from creating a national system, to building a team to ensure digital homeland security, and promoting research and development as an aspect of national defence.

"Taiwan certainly has an urgent need to establish a sound information security protection system before it can increase the trust that people and businesses have towards the digital environment," Ms Tsai told an information security event.

"With hacker attacks, Internet extortion and fraud, these will affect people's lives, social order, and even threaten national security." She did not set a timeline for achievement of the security goals.

The threat of digital heists is rising as hackers adopt increasingly sophisticated tools and techniques, SWIFT, the global messaging system used to move trillions of dollars each day, warned last month.

In February, the island's stock exchange system also was attacked. The financial securities regulator had responded immediately with measures, Ms Tsai said.

Ms Tsai added that Taiwan has since elevated information security to the level of national security after she took office in May last year.

The government has also added another member to its national security team, while the executive yuan, or cabinet, has created an information security division.