Indonesia’s National Data Center Hacked: Government Refuses to Pay $8 Million Ransom

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A ransomware attack has compromised Indonesia’s national data center, disrupting over 200 government agencies. The government vows not to pay the $8 million ransom and works on recovery efforts.

Bollywood Fever: Indonesia’s national data center has fallen victim to a significant cyberattack, with a hacking group demanding an $8 million ransom. The government has firmly stated it will not comply with the ransom demand, despite the widespread disruption caused by the attack.

Disruption Across Government Services

The cyberattack has affected more than 200 government agencies at both national and regional levels since last Thursday. Samuel Abrijani Pangerapan, director general of informatics applications with the Communications and Informatics Ministry, confirmed that some services, including immigration services at airports, have been restored. However, efforts are ongoing to fully recover other critical services, such as investment licensing.

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Attack Details and Response

The hackers have encrypted data and are holding it hostage, offering a decryption key in exchange for the $8 million ransom. PT Telkom Indonesia’s director of network & IT solutions, Herlan Wijanarko, stated that the company is working with both domestic and international authorities to investigate the attack and attempt to break the encryption.

Communications and Informatics Minister Budi Arie Setiadi emphasized that the government will not pay the ransom. “We have tried our best to carry out recovery while the National Cyber and Crypto Agency is currently carrying out forensics,” Setiadi told journalists.

LockBit 3.0 Ransomware Involvement

Hinsa Siburian, head of the National Cyber and Crypto Agency, revealed that samples of the LockBit 3.0 ransomware were detected in the attack. This ransomware variant has been linked to a series of severe cyberattacks in Indonesia since 2017.

Pratama Persadha, chairman of Indonesia’s Cybersecurity Research Institute, described the current cyberattack as the most severe the country has faced. “The disruption to the national data center and days-long recovery efforts mean this ransomware attack was extraordinary,” Persadha said. He criticized the handling of Indonesia’s cyber infrastructure, noting that a robust backup system could have mitigated the impact.

Previous Cybersecurity Incidents

Indonesia has experienced several significant cyber incidents in recent years. In 2022, Indonesia’s central bank was attacked by ransomware, though public services were not affected. In 2021, the health ministry’s COVID-19 app was hacked, exposing the personal data and health status of 1.3 million people.

Additionally, last year, the hacker group LockBit claimed to have stolen 1.5 terabytes of data from Indonesia’s largest Islamic bank, Bank Syariah Indonesia, according to Dark Tracer, an intelligence platform monitoring malicious activities in cyberspace.

Moving Forward

The recent attack on Indonesia’s national data center underscores the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity measures and infrastructure. As recovery efforts continue, the government’s stance on not paying the ransom highlights its commitment to addressing the root causes of such vulnerabilities and preventing future attacks.

The government, along with PT Telkom Indonesia and international authorities, is focused on restoring full functionality and securing the affected systems to protect against further breaches.

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