The Development and Prospects of Cyber Security in Indonesia
In 2016, nearly USD 1 Billion sitting in an account run by one of the most tight-security institutions, US Federal Reserve System, was stolen by an army of hackers from the reclusive state, North Korea. The country was also suspected to back the successful hacking of Sony Pictures in protest against the release of a film who parodied their esteemed leader, releasing sensitive communications and also copies of then-unreleased movies.
Hitting closer to home, Indonesia was enraged in 2013 when a portion of classified information leaked by a former CIA agent Edward Snowden, revealed that the USA and Australia had wiretapped phone conversations of key government leaders of Indonesia, including those of the then President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his wife, rocking the diplomatic peace of these countries. Furthermore, Akamai Technologies, who monitored third of all global internet traffic, consistently ranked Indonesia as one of the top three world’s sources of cyber attacks. Voicing this urgent concern, in December 2014, the Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu warned that Indonesia was on the brink of a cyber war. Four years forward, Indonesia Security Incident Response Team on Internet Infrastructure (ID-SIRTII) released the Indonesia Cyber Security Report 2018 which still shows constant increase of cyber attacks frequency yearly.
There is indeed an inherent dualism to the cyber technology which has eased our lives through connectivity, speed and practicality. The same mechanism that eases our lives also, on the other hand, presents threats to us, exposing private data, smearing reputation, threatening industries, and yes, draining monetary accounts.
The growth of internet users correlates to the increase of cyber crimes. A 2017 survey of Asosiasi Penyelenggara Jasa Internet Indonesia (APJII) found that 54.68% of Indonesians now use the internet to conduct a variety of activities such as chatting, searching, buying and banking. 79% of these users access the internet on a daily basis, spending an average of eight hours and 51 minutes on surfing the net. Also, the majority of them use personal smartphones and tablets to do so. As it is, the more digitally connected people are, the more potentially massive the cyber attacks become.
This is the situation amidst the absence of common understanding on the applicable rules of behavior in this domain, rendering the many tools available in cyberspace to be usable both for legitimate and malicious purposes, posing risks to strategic industries, defense, businesses and -in an era where tweets have the capacity to start a nuclear war- upend domestic and international peace and order.
The Bright Side
These cyber threats should logically wary us, but as dualism has it, they have also opened up massive opportunities for the cyber security industry. A survey reveals that 15 million of cyber security experts are in demand worldwide. An ongoing national recruitment program of 10,000 cyber experts, otherwise known as cyber army in charge in maintaining the security of the multifaceted ICT domain, was rolled out in 2017 to address this need, one of the top three national security priorities after the combat against radicalism and terrorism, and drug abuse.
The Cyber Crime Sub-directorate of the Indonesian National Police Criminal Investigation Division is one of those at the forefront against cyber threats. But in 2016, the team was found poorly manned, with mere 25 personnel. For reference, China’s cyber security numbers 18,000. There are also collaborating cyber divisions in the State Intelligence Agency, Ministry of Defense, and in the National Army. To further strengthen the peace and order in the cyberspace, the government through the Coordinating Minister of Politics, Law and Security (Menko Polhukam), Wiranto, formed National Cyber and Codes Agency (Badan Siber dan Sandi Nasional) in 2017 as an umbrella coordinating body for all existing governmental cyber divisions.
Of course, the government is not alone. There are also private ventures in cyber security who have successfully marketed their cyber security products, some even to the international market. These are companies such as, Kecoak Elektronik, Smadav, Bajau Escorindo, PT. Sumantec Indonesia, Defendor Nusa Semesta, PT. Cyber Network Indonesia, PT. Dimension Data Indonesia, among others. Smadav, for example, claimed to have 3,000,000 active users of its antivirus software, 20% of which are from The Philippines, India, Malaysia and also the African continent.
The cyber security industry is expected to continue its advance alongside the march of technology. The current fourth industrial revolution (popularly dubbed Industry 4.0) is oriented towards the internet of things, automation, big data and cloud computing, human-machine interface and, finally, artificial intelligence. Indeed, the global trend of cyber security industry has shifted from merely providing antivirus, to developing intelligent mechanism to detect malware through machine learning and data mining methods.
However, the overall adoption of technology in Indonesia has been slow, due to the existing technology gap between the urban and rural areas. Despite the approaching saturation of internet service coverage in the urban area, Indonesian human resources have a lot to catch up to vis-à-vis the global pace of Industry 4.0.
Government initiative’s through President Jokowi’s Making Indonesia 4.0 seeks to address what is currently lacking, e.g.: skilled human resources, foreign investment and knowledge transfer, towards a 2030 developed Indonesia.
That is around a decade to go and one full of opportunities for the cyber security industry.
MRI employed several methodologies: Interview, Survey and Desk Research and arranged its findings in “Development and Prospects of Cyber Security in Indonesia 2019”.
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