Taiwanese government websites go down during Pelosi’s visit
Several Taiwanese government websites went offline on Tuesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in the country for her controversial visit.
Why it matters: Although the website outages haven’t been attributed, Chinese state hackers have been known to retaliate through low-level distributed denial of service attacks, which overwhelm a site with abnormally high traffic until it shuts down. The Chinese government has also warned that Pelosi’s visit would prompt “strong and resolute measures” in response.
Details: The websites for President Tsai Ing-wen, the Ministry of National Defense, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport have been inoperable at times throughout the day.
- Chang Tun-Han, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s presidential palace, said in a statement posted to Facebook that the president’s official website was “attacked by an overseas DDoS attack.” Website traffic reached 200 times that of a typical day, Tun-Han said, resulting in a 20-minute shutdown.
- Access to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, military and airport’s websites continued to be spotty throughout Tuesday as they recover from the suspected DDoS attack.
The bigger picture: DDoS attacks have become a go-to tool for both state-sponsored hackers and activist hackers in political conflicts. They send a clear message that a country or political group is upset, but they typically aren’t destructive enough to spur retaliation from the targeted organizations.
- Before Russian forces invaded Ukraine, Russian hackers took down the websites belonging to Ukrainian banks and government institutions.