Smart City: How Taipei maintains ensures availability of public services

With a population of 2.7 million, Taipei City serves as Taiwan’s cultural, economic and political hub. However, the city has witnessed an onslaught of malicious attacks in recent years. These were driven by various motives ranging from socio-political issues to simply workplace unhappiness. In 2016, a discontented employee planted a malware in Taipei City’s bicycle sharing network. This affected thousands of residents who depended on the service for commuting.

The incident demonstrated that any form of cyber attack can lead to crippling results in the form of disruption of service.

Hence, in 2016, the Taipei City Government established the Taipei Smart City Project Management Office (TPMO). TPMO is responsible for the Taipei Smart City project, and oversees the introduction of smart, innovative solutions that bring about greater connectivity, more smart devices and apps for life, work and play.

It has five key focus areas including Smart Transportation, Smart Public Housing, Smart Healthcare, Smart Education and Smart Payment.

With the Taipei Smart City project, the key challenge was to ensure that all public services were always available.

Taipei City Government’s aim is to create a livable and sustainable environment for its residents to live in by solving the challenges of urban living. However, security threats are continuously on the rise, globally. To ensure the success of the Taipei Smart City project, products and services launched under the project will need to be equipped with built-in security and privacy by default.


A major part of the Taipei Smart City project involves the use of technology to solve challenges of urban living. However, the rising adoption of technology meant being increasingly susceptible to cyber attacks.

According to the latest World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, cyber attacks have been identified as one of the top five global threats today.

Technical challenge

With the roll out of smart innovations – electronic health records, e-payment services or intelligent transport systems, citizens private data – name, contact details, financial information, are at risk of being exposed.

This sensitive information requires adequate cyber defense measures. Thus, the technical challenge was to ensure that all smart innovations introduced under the Taipei Smart City project come with built-in security and privacy by default.

Choosing the right vendor

The city government recognised that one key method of launching cyber attacks is the use of SSL-encrypted threats to evade detection and deliver malicious threats. In fact, it is predicted that 70% of cyber attacks will exploit encryption as part of their delivery mechanism in 2019.

Against this backdrop, there are several dedicated security devices that provide in-depth inspection and analysis of network traffic. However, they are not designed to decrypt and encrypt traffic at high speeds.

“As such, we required a comprehensive decryption solution that decrypts traffic across all ports, enabling third-party security devices to analyze all enterprise traffic without compromising performance,” said a statement from the Taipei City Government. “The A10 Networks’ Thunder SSL Insight (Thunder SSLi) does just that.”

Taipei City Government needed a solution at the very onset of the project. Given the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, it required a comprehensive decryption solution – one that:

  • Offers real-time visibility into encrypted traffic
  • Can decrypt traffic for all security devices
  • Has flexible deployment in transparent or explicit mode
  • Provides load balancing support


A10 Networks’ Thunder SSLi warranted Taipei City Government’s fundamental priority – ensuring continuous service availability, privacy protection of residents, and information security.

Taipei City Government was ensured visibility as the Thunder SSLi decrypts traffic across all ports and multiple protocols to eliminate encryption blind spots. It enabled the security infrastructure needed to inspect previously invisible traffic, detect and defend against hidden threats. This ensured that public services were always available and not disrupted.

To secure an enterprise network, from both internal and external threats, organizations require the help of a variety of security devices. Being able to work with major security vendors, the Thunder SSLi has ensured that the whole organization’s network is secured against encrypted threats.

These have led to increase assurance from Taipei City’s residents that their data is safe and services will always available.

The solution eco-system

Thunder SSLi was deployed at the internet gateway to protect:

  • All of Taipei City’s online services
  • Taipei Smart City’s collaboration and productivity tools
  • The intranet – such as human resources and accounting services