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Taiwan gov’t website hit with cyberattack ahead of Pelosi visit: Report

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, CA. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
August 02, 2022

The website for Taiwan’s Presidential Office was reportedly hit by an “overseas” cyberattack on Tuesday evening local time ahead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the country.

Journalist Tingting Liu with the Taiwanese news channel TVBS News reported that the Presidential Office’s website was the target of an “overseas” distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. 

According to Cloudflare, a DDoS attack is type of cyberattack that involves “a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic.”

“Taiwan’s Presidential Office just confirmed that at around 17:15 local time, the Presidential Office’s website was hit by an overseas DDoS attack. The attack traffic was 200 times that of a normal day, causing the official website to be down for 20 minutes,” Liu tweeted. 

“The spokesperson stressed they will continue to strengthen their monitoring to ensure the security and the stable operation of key infrastructure,” she added. 

Liu tweeted an image after the cyberattack showing “how the President Office’s website” appeared for her as of 17:19 local time.

Locals in Taiwan are supportive of Pelosi’s visit even as concerns over Chinese aggression grows.

Fox News reported that a Democratic Progressive Party city councilor in Taiwan reportedly helped erect a billboard in the capital city, which read, “Welcome to Taiwan, Speaker Pelosi!” 

The Taipei 101 skyscraper was also lit up with a welcome message for Pelosi. 

“The iconic Taipei 101 skyscraper lit up with a welcome message for @SpeakerPelosi, local livestream shows.,” William Gallo tweeted.

Newt Gingrich, the last Speaker of the House to visit Taiwan, said Pelosi should tell the Biden administration to “shut up” when it comes to her trip to the island. 

“It’s exactly the kind of confusion that enabled Putin to mislead himself about Ukraine. We need to be very, very clear. And this is part of why we had a lot of tension in 1996, 97, and President Clinton and I collaborated in trying to send very strong signals, including putting American aircraft carriers in the Taiwan Strait. So I would say she absolutely has to go now,” Gingrich said during an appearance on Fox News.  

“She cannot allow the Chinese communist dictatorship to think that it can bully an American Speaker of the House. And frankly, she ought to tell the Pentagon and the State Department to shut up. They’re always timid. They’re always risk-averse. And they don’t get it. It’s very important to show strength,” he added. “So the Chinese communists understand that we’re real, and we’re not, just as Mao called us a paper tiger.”