Taiwan Military Says Hackers Sold Telecom Giant’s Data on Web

(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s military said hackers sold data stolen from the island’s biggest telecom company on the internet, the latest challenge to the democratically run island’s cybersecurity.

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The leaked documents that related to the military didn’t contain confidential information, the Defense Ministry in Taipei said Thursday in response to a query from Bloomberg News. Broadcaster TVBS reported earlier that hackers took sensitive information from Chunghwa Telecom Co. and Taiwanese national security units.

Neither the report nor the Defense Ministry statement said where the hackers were based or who they are.

“The initial analysis of this case is that hackers obtained Chunghwa Telecom’s sensitive information and sold it on the dark web, including documents from the army, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Coast Guard Administration and other units,” the Defense Ministry said. It added that the leak included a contract between the Navy and Chunghwa Telecom.

Taiwan officials have warned in the past that government agencies and companies are the targets of tens of millions of cyberattack attempts each month from China, which claims the island as part of its territory and has vowed to bring it under control someday.

Cybersecurity experts at Alphabet Inc.’s Google warned last year that China was responsible for a “massive increase” in cyberattacks on Taiwan. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen also said at the time that the island “is facing mounting military intimidation, gray-zone campaigns, cyberattacks and information manipulation.”

Read More: Google Warns China Is Ramping Up Cyberattacks Against Taiwan

In its story late Wednesday, TVBS included a screenshot of an offer by hackers to sell the information. The screenshot indicated the hackers wanted to offload 1.7 terabytes of internal documents from Chunghwa Telecom, and the data contained contracts the company signed with entities including the government. The report didn’t say how much money the hackers wanted.

Chunghwa Telecom said in an exchange filing that it has started probing a suspected data leak and reported the case to the government. It added that the incident has had no major impact on its operations, and it will continue strengthening cybersecurity controls.

The firm’s shares fell 0.4% on Thursday, trimming their gain for the year to 0.4%.

The Digital Ministry in Taipei didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Read More: A War Over Taiwan Is a $10 Trillion Risk to the Global Economy

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