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Jakarta Post

Govt to set up national cyber agency

  • Ina Parlina

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, January 7, 2015   /  09:25 am

The government is planning to establish an agency that would lead a campaign against cyber attacks, including those threatening financial institutions and basic infrastructure, such as cellular services and electricity, amid concerns that the country is '€œvulnerable'€ to such attacks.

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara and Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno held a meeting with President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo at the Presidential Office on Tuesday to discuss the plan to form the body, which would be tasked to marshal an integrated cyber defense.

Rudiantara said that currently Tedjo'€™s office was coordinating efforts to counter cyber attacks, but they were deemed insufficient in the face of growing Internet usage in the country.

'€œConsidering the needs of the country in addressing such cyber issues, we proposed the establishment of a stronger institution called the '€˜National Cyber Agency'€™ because we are now considered vulnerable,'€ Rudiantara told reporters after the meeting.

Data from the Communications and Information Ministry showed that Indonesia was the world'€™s largest source of cyber crime attacks during the second quarter of 2013, during which 42,000 targets were identified each day. The data also showed that 36.6 million cyber attacks occurred in Indonesia in the past three years.

Most attacks were in the form of viruses and malware that were difficult to detect by existing network devices.

'€œEach institution, including each bank, has its own cyber security system, but there is not yet a national-scale cyber defense. So it [the agency] will provide an integrated system, although each [institution] will have its own security measures,'€ Tedjo said.

Tedjo said that the agency would also be crucial for protecting basic infrastructure. '€œFor example, PLN [state-owned electricity company PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara] could be subject to attacks from outside of the country because it uses computer networks. Not to mention banks; what if their money suddenly disappears?'€

Without elaborating further, Rudiantara said that there have been attacks against Indonesia'€™s interests, although they were not on a scale with what had been launched against US entertainment giant Sony Pictures, allegedly by North Korea.

North Korea allegedly launched the attacks to prevent the screening of Sony'€™s fictional comedy The Interview, which depicts a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In March last year, immigration officials from Batam Port in Batam, Riau Islands, arrested six Malaysians for allegedly breaching the security of 34 banks, three of which were in Indonesia, in a case of computer-assisted fraud. In September last year, National Police arrested four Indonesians linked to cyber-fraud crimes that targeted two American companies and one Chinese company in 2013.

Indonesia maintained its position among the world'€™s top three attack-originating countries between 2013 and mid-2014, according to quarterly research by US Internet security firm Akamai, which observed attack traffic originating from 185 countries or regions.

In the first quarter of 2014, Indonesia sat in third place with 6.8 percent of attack traffic originating from the country, after the US which originated 11 percent and China with 41 percent. In the second quarter, Indonesia overtook the US position with 15 percent, while China remained at the top of the list.

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