Alphabet Inc.’s Google has identified a significant increase in cyberattacks originating from China targeting Taiwan, according to cybersecurity experts.
In the past six months, the tech giant’s threat analysis division noted a “massive increase” in Chinese-sponsored hacking campaigns, with hackers adopting intricate tactics to obfuscate their origins.
Kate Morgan, a senior engineering manager at Google, highlighted that Chinese hackers are utilizing tactics that complicate tracking efforts.
These include infiltrating small home and office internet routers and repurposing them to launch attacks while concealing their true source.
Morgan revealed that Google is monitoring over 100 hacking groups in China alone, targeting various sectors in Taiwan, including defence, government, and private industry.
Concerns have risen globally over the potential for conflict in Taiwan, exacerbated by the strained relationship between the US and China. While the US does not formally recognize Taiwan as a nation, it has committed to assisting the island in defending itself against what it perceives as an increasingly aggressive China. China considers Taiwan a part of its territory.
Despite the tensions, outgoing Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen acknowledged during a summit that China currently appears “overwhelmed” to consider a major invasion of the island.
However, she emphasized Taiwan’s resilience and commitment to enhancing defence capabilities amid military intimidation, cyberattacks, and information manipulation.
Google’s findings come as part of its broader observations on global cybersecurity threats. Kate Morgan mentioned that North Korea and Iran continue to pose significant hacking threats, while Russia’s cyber focus has predominantly been on Ukraine since its invasion in February 2022.
In a move to address cybersecurity challenges, Google has launched a new cybersecurity centre in Malaga, Spain.
The “safety engineering centre” will house around 100 security experts, aiming to collaborate with European businesses and government officials to enhance cyber resilience on the continent.
Google already operates safety engineering centres in Dublin, Ireland, and Munich, Germany, focusing on various aspects of cybersecurity, content moderation, and privacy engineering.
Kent Walker, Google’s President of Global Affairs, cited Malaga’s pro-innovation policies and its digital profile as key reasons for choosing it as the location for the new hub.
(With inputs from agencies)