Hackers claiming to be affiliated with the collective Anonymous defaced a Chinese government website in retaliation for alleged cyberattacks on several Taiwanese government websites.
On Wednesday, the hackers defaced the website replacing its content with a message in support of House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the country.
“Taiwan numbah wan!” the message, which is a racist imitation of a Chinese accent that has become a gaming meme, read. “This hack is a retaliation of the DDoS attacks on the presidential website,” it continued, according to an archived version of the site.
The hackers targeted the site of China's Heilongjiang Society Scientific Community Federations, a government agency.
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s president wrote on Facebook that the president’s official website went down for 20 minutes because of an “overseas DDoS attack.” According to a local journalist, the attack flooded the website with traffic “200 times that of a normal day.”
Later in the day, other Taiwanese government websites went down, fueling speculation that the Chinese government may be behind the attacks. But cybersecurity experts were skeptical not only of the Chinese government attribution, but of the actual cyberattacks too.
“These are uncoordinated, random, moral-less attacks against websites that Chinese hacktivists use to get their message across,” Johannes Ullrich, Dean of Research at the SANS Technology Institute, a cybersecurity education and research organization told Reuters.
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But the outage of the president’s official website could just be “a slight overload of traffic” due to “people hitting the refresh button,” Dmitri Alperovitch, a cybersecurity expert and chairman of the Silverado Policy Accelerator, told The Washington Post.
“True, there is one China, but Taiwan is the real China while yours is only an imitation straight out of wish.com,” the hackers wrote on the Chinese government website.
The hackers also embedded two videos: one of the song "Fragile," by Malaysian rapper Namewee and Taiwan-based Australian singer Kimberley Chen; and one that plays Taiwan's national anthem.