Military tensions between China and Taiwan fuel active cyberwar

The world was relieved when tensions between China and Taiwan did not escalate into a larger military engagement in August. Nevertheless, both countries are influenced by active cyberwarfare.

According to researchers at threat intelligence firm Cyberint, cyber activity between China and Taiwan is defined by multi-vector attacks, similar to what experts have observed happening between Russia and Ukraine. Based on a recent report, cyber tensions are high, and the number of national-level cyberattacks targeting China and Taiwan has recently significantly increased. Cyberint Research Team states that the growing number of cyberattacks will encourage more competing hacker organisations, raising the risk of an escalating cyber conflict.

One obvious sign of increased activity, according to the researchers, is the increasing number of comments on Chinese and Taiwanese breaches in cybercriminal leak forums, with the number of comments on Chinese data leaks increasing four times in July compared to June. When it comes to Taiwan, the number of comments under data leaks from its companies also increased during July.

The new tactics may eventually lead to a gradual increase from minor cyberattacks on government websites to more serious crimes involving the hacking of critical infrastructure. If the cyber conflict between Taiwan and China resembles what happened in Ukraine, China should prepare its infrastructure to withstand a series of new distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.