MELBOURNE, Australia — Taiwan and the United States are co-hosting a weeklong, multinational cybersecurity exercise on the east Asian island as it seeks to bolster its cybersecurity in the face of increasing cyberattacks.
This year’s exercise, which is held once every two years since the inaugural event in 2013, is noteworthy, as it is the first time the United States is co-hosting the event and is also the first time it includes the participation of personnel from several other countries.
Known as the Cyber Offensive and Defensive Exercise, or CODE, red (adversarial) teams from Australia, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia will join the co-hosts in simulated attacks on the Taiwan’s public and private cyber infrastructure.
Six other nations are observing the exercise, according to a report from the United Kingdom’s Financial Times newspaper.
The American Institute in Taiwan, which represents U.S. interests on the island, is acting as the Western nation’s representative for this year’s exercise. Speaking at Wednesday’s opening session of the Taiwan-led portion of the drill, the institute’s director, W. Brent Christensen, said that American and international participation sends a message that Taiwan is not alone on the cyber front.
Earlier, the institute’s acting director, Raymond Greene, said the exercise “marks a new frontier in the ever-deepening cyber cooperation between the United States and Taiwan,” noting that “as we speak, pernicious actors are engaged in relentless attempts to steal trade secrets, intellectual property and our most valuable data.”
He added that the pace of these cyberattacks is “increasing exponentially and represent an existential threat to the international rules-based economic order.” He singled out North Korea as one of the actors using malicious cyber capabilities.
However, Taiwan previously said most of the cyberattacks it experiences come from mainland China. Howard Jyan, the director general of Taiwan’s Department of Cyber Security, noted that the government’s networks are scanned 200 million times and suffer 30 million attacks a month from outside its borders, with China suspected of being responsible for half of these.
It is also widely expected that China, which sees Taiwan as a rogue province and has never ruled out the use of force to reincorporate the island with the mainland, will use its significant cyber resources to mount a massive cyberattack on Taiwanese targets alongside any overt military action in the event of a conflict.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.