A Taiwanese political party suspects the Chinese government is behind a hacking attack that stole information about the party’s election activities.
Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said on Tuesday that some of the attacks had been traced to China’s Xinhua News Agency, a state-run press group. The attack operated as a phishing campaign, in which hackers impersonating other party employees sent DPP staffers email messages that asked the recipients to open attached files, which secretly contained viruses to monitor the computers, a DPP spokesperson said.
The DPP alleges the attacks were routed from the Xinhua News Agency through Malaysia and Australia. The attacks were also traced to IP addresses from the Chinese mainland. The Xinhua News Agency was contacted for response, but has yet to an issue a comment.
IT security experts have said the attacks were part of a state-sponsored hacking attempt, according to the DPP. “Already many countries and security groups have said the attacks from China’s cyber-army are well organized and that a state actor guides and supports them,” the DPP said in statement issued on the party’s website.
China is already in the spotlight for cyberattacks after security vendor McAfee reported a massive cyberattack that stole sensitive information from 72 companies and organizations. Although McAfee did not name the group behind the hacking attempts, security experts have pointed fingers at China because of the organizations targeted. China, however, has repeatedly denied that it sponsors any kind of hacking.
A DPP spokesperson said that the phishing attacks have been an ongoing problem, but she noted that more of the recent hacking attempts appear to have comr from China.
Taiwan and China separated in 1949 after a civil war. While China’s ruling communist party seeks reunification with the island, the DPP supports Taiwan becoming its own nation, putting the two at odds with one another.
The DPP said on Tuesday that it also traced hacking attempts to Taiwan’s own Research, Development and Evaluation Commission and called for the commission to investigate. The commission could not be reached for immediate comment.