LINE accounts for more than 100 Taiwanese politicians were hacked
Image: The LINE Corporation
Catalin Cimpanu July 28, 2021

LINE accounts for more than 100 Taiwanese politicians were hacked

LINE accounts for more than 100 Taiwanese politicians were hacked

The LINE accounts of more than 100 Taiwanese politicians and government officials have been hacked, and data exfiltrated from devices.

The intrusions were discovered by LINE and came to light when the company notified some of the affected users, who later shared the warnings with Taiwanese news outlet Liberty Times.

According to the news outlet, the hacked accounts belonged to “high-level dignitaries,” such as personnel of the presidential office, the state cabinet, members of several political parties, mayors, and members of the Taiwanese military.

Liberty Times reported, citing unnamed sources among the hacked dignitaries, that LINE discovered suspicious data flows originating from some of its Taiwanese accounts last week.

The company notified users of the intrusions and told them to enable their account’s message encryption feature.

LINE Corporation, the Japanese company behind the LINE instant messaging platform, formally confirmed the intrusions in a statement on its website.

The company said it intervened last week to protect the hacked account and is now working with law enforcement agencies to investigate the breach.

Earlier today, the Taiwanese Police Criminal Investigation Bureau sent an alert about romance scams carried out via the LINE app, but the alert appears to be unrelated to the hack of government officials’ accounts.

Second LINE security incident this year

LINE is the most popular instant messaging application in Taiwan, mainly due to its Japanese roots, as Chinese apps are not trusted due to the possibility that data on Taiwanese users might be shared with Chinese intelligence services.

In March this year, a huge scandal broke out in Japan when it was discovered that LINE had outsourced some of its development work to a Chinese company, which then had direct access to all LINE users’ data.

A few weeks later, the LINE CEO said the company would move all user data from South Korean data centers to store it exclusively inside Japan.

Catalin Cimpanu is a cybersecurity reporter for The Record. He previously worked at ZDNet and Bleeping Computer, where he became a well-known name in the industry for his constant scoops on new vulnerabilities, cyberattacks, and law enforcement actions against hackers.