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How Taiwan is prioritizing the fight against cyber criminals

By Gil Bernabeu, Chief Technology Officer, GlobalPlatform


Cyber-crime is a global threat. With malicious attacks occurring every 39 seconds, there has never been a more important time to have robust security measures in place to stop hackers in their tracks.

While technology advancement and connectivity has fast become part of everyday life – from smart homes and cities to remote working, automotive, digital identity and everything in between – these developments have provided even more attractive opportunities for criminals to capitalize upon. And with forecasts predicting that by 2023 there will be 29 billion IoT devices globally, the challenge to shut down offensive cyber operations will become even more critical.

In response, many countries continue to make huge strides in the prioritization of cybersecurity. Global governments and key decision makers have established legislation, policies and dedicated groups to safeguard their respective countries. Well-known initiatives include US President Joe Biden’s 2021 ‘Executive Order 14028: Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity’ and the Greek government’s National Cyber Security Authority.

Delving into Asia too – a continent that has spearheaded much of the technological advancement we are all familiar with today – Taiwan is moving rapidly in the right direction. Known for being the world’s leading export destination for Integrated Circuits (ICs) and one of the largest chip producers, the island is unfortunately not immune to targeted cyber-attacks. In 2022 for example, President Tsai Ing-wen reported that its government was coming up against 30 million cyber-attacks every single month.

With an ambition to protect its 23 million-strong population, Taiwan has put in place several initiatives to advance its position as a critical force in the global economy. Most notably, the ‘5+2 Innovative Industries Program’, established in 2016, covers seven areas of focus throughout Taiwan including intelligent machinery and Asia’s Silicon Valley.

Additionally, 2021 saw the government launch its own Cybersecurity is National Security 2.0 strategy – a framework aimed at protecting critical infrastructure, core databases and more. The Cybersecurity Management Act is also the primary legislation governing cybersecurity in Taiwan.

The innovator’s role in cybersecurity

With a laser-beam focus on combating cyber-crime, the challenge to halt the hackers presents a huge opportunity for Taiwan’s technology sector – which is fast becoming known as a ‘hot zone’ for secure and trusted technologies that are being developed at pace. And through the adoption of internationally recognized standards that ensure security-by-design – as well as trust through certification – Taiwan’s semiconductor and ICT industries have already started to distinguish their commitment to cybersecurity. They are poised now to maintain and grow their central role in global supply chains and as a major base for the development of next generation technologies.

But Taiwan cannot stop malicious threats and achieve everything it wants to on its own – industry collaboration is vital. To bolster digital transformation and develop trust on a global scale, the creation of cybersecurity systems and an industrial chain that can integrate with vertical industries, are both critical. And in order for this to happen effectively, Taiwan is establishing strong connections among global Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) and certification bodies.

This is where GlobalPlatform’s expertise comes in. As an industry association that provides the standard for secure digital services and devices, our technologies and certifications are in a strong position to help the Taiwan security community achieve its ambitious mission. One of the first steps forward included a knowledge-sharing seminar that we recently hosted in conjunction with Taiwanese corporation – and GlobalPlatform member – Winbond Electronics Corporation.

Called, ‘Certified Trust – A Seminar on Certification Schemes for Taiwan’s IoT Security Ecosystem’, the full-day session was held in Taipei City and welcomed over 100 attendees who listened to a range of impactful presentations, use cases and panel debates.

Security experts representing GlobalPlatform – including NIST, TrustCB, SGS Brightsight, Winbond Electronics and STMicroelectronics – covered important topics on embracing proactive security and using the Security Evaluation Standard for IoT Platforms (SESIP) methodology when building a cyber-safe product. Meanwhile, discussing the latest developments in the Taiwanese cybersecurity landscape were industry-leading speakers from the Taiwan Ministry of Digital Affairs, the Taiwan Institute for Information Industry, Taiwan Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association, Microsoft Taiwan, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI).

Next steps for cybersecurity

Following the seminar, GlobalPlatform and Winbond have been able to further strengthen the relationship and uncover critical information which will all help towards a combined and sustained effort to prevent targeted cyber-attacks on Taiwan's infrastructure and on the technology it produces. Three key takeaways in particular have been summarized below by Ilia Stolov, Center Head of Security Solutions at Winbond, as to the current landscape in terms of localized security standards:

1) There was a much clearer understanding of the issues that the Taiwan government and both the Taiwan ICs and electronic industries faced on a daily basis in relation to hacking operations.

2) Active participation from all relevant stakeholders is critical in order to ramp-up a localized cybersecurity ecosystem.

3) The local industry would like to learn more about GlobalPlatform’s SESIP methodology and apply it to further strengthen Taiwan’s cybersecurity provision.

4) Integrating and aligning Taiwan’s cybersecurity regulations with EU and US security ecosystems is going to be crucial in the fight against fraudsters.

Taiwan’s commitment to enhancing digital transformation and creating more robust cybersecurity innovation are to be commended. Providing its community with the tools and consultation they need to have an immediate impact on their own company’s IoT and security initiatives can help towards building a more secure future. Not only for Taiwan, the world. As the IoT continues to expand, now is the time to address security challenges and see it as an opportunity to future proof organizations with advanced technology and robust infrastructure.

Learn more about evolving cybersecurity regulations in IoT.

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