Taiwan probes hack of ‘high ranking officials’ LINE messaging account

Taipei: Taiwan has launched an investigation into the hacking of over 100 LINE messaging accounts of Taiwanese “high ranking officials” after the company admitted abnormal activities had been detected.

The Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau on Wednesday said that it has begun an investigation after LINE, the most popular instant messenger and online call service in Taiwan, reported the case to authorities, Focus Taiwan reported.

On Wednesday, the Chinese-language Liberty Times reported that LINE discovered content flowing out of certain LINE app users last week, and took action to deal with it.

The company soon then found more than 100 people in the political sector were victims of the attack, including Cabinet and Presidential Office officials, military officers, local government officials, and heavyweights of political parties, the report said.

It is uncertain who was behind the hacking of accounts. However, it comes as China has stepped up cyberattacks since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen.

Taiwan’s cybersecurity agency says that the island faces an estimated 30 million cyber attacks every month, around half of them believed to originate from China.

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.

On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to complete reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to smash any attempts at formal independence for the island.

Reacting to Xi’s remarks, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) accused the CCP of tightening its dictatorship in the name of national rejuvenation internally and attempting to alter the international order with its hegemonic ambitions externally, Focus Taiwan reported.