A group identifying itself as Anonymous Indonesia has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on government-owned websites that it said were in retaliation for the arrest of a man in Jember, East Java, who is facing imprisonment for defacing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s personal website.
“Government of Indonesia, you cannot arrest an idea NO ARMY CAN STOP US #Anonymous #OpFreeWildan #FreeAnon,” Anonymous Indonesia posted on its Twitter account, @anon_indonesia.
The group defaced and paralyzed a number of websites to protest against the police’s move to charge Wildan Yani Ashari, an employee at an Internet cafe in Jember, who admitted to defacing a number of websites, including the one owned by Yudhoyono, presidensby.info. He has been charged under the 2008 Information and Electronic Transaction Law and is now facing at least five years imprisonment if convicted.
The hacked websites belong to the Law and Human Rights Ministry, the Social Affairs Ministry, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, the Business Competition Supervisory Commission, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) and also indonesia.go.id. On Wednesday night, the police’s website, polri.go.id, was down, for which the group also claimed responsibility.
It is unclear whether Anonymous Indonesia is affiliated with the group that hacked the websites of the Israeli government in November last year. At that time, the hacker, through the Twitter account @YourAnonNews, claimed to have defaced 40 Israeli websites.
“It’s not [Wildan]’s friends. After journalists reported his case, several hackers might have used this opportunity [to attack],” chief of the National Police Criminal Investigation Directorate (Bareskrim) Comr. Gen. Sutarman said on Wednesday.
Digital forensic expert Ruby Alamsyah said that government websites were an easy target even for a new hacker. “Government websites, ranging from the central government’s to regional administrations’, are lacking in security measures. Top hackers or small-time hackers can break into their systems. So, it’s only a matter of who has the guts to do it,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone.
Sutarman admitted that the vandal attacks on a dozen governmental websites on Tuesday and Wednesday were simply caused by weak security firewalls.
He said the websites of ministries and governmental bodies had applied insufficient security firewalls that had enabled a hacker to breach their systems.
“If the sites were hacked, they did not apply good firewalls. They need to improve that,” he said.
The officer said that hacking remained the top cyber crime that threatened websites in the country, including the one that belonged to the police.
“The websites of the KPU [General Elections Commission] and the National Police were once hacked. This means we are prone to that [hacking attack],” he said. In 2011, the police website was allegedly hacked by Islamic militants.
Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said that the ministry would improve the security firewalls of governmental bodies sites following the hacking attacks. “We have a team. They worked 24 hours under the ministry,” Tifatul told reporters at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
Tifatul said this was not the first wave of attacks against governmental official sites. He said that there were at least 36.6 million hacking attacks against the government in 2012.
He added that the ministry had succeeded in cutting short all of the attacks. “Anybody who violates the law has to face the legal process. We can’t let the lawbreakers [go free], because cyber crime is a serious matter,” he said.
Some local social media users threw their support behind Wildan and Anonymous Indonesia.
“Great, a hacker messing up a TERRIBLE site can be ordered to pay a Rp 12 billion [US$1.23 million] fine. A corruptor messing up the nation is only told to pay Rp 250 million,” said the owner of the Twitter account @YandriPerdana. (yps)