Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Cyberattacks have threatened elections in several countries, and one of the major hacking cases was alleged foreign interference using cyber networks during the US presidential elections in 2016.

Any form of interference in the election results, be it through money politics or cyberattacks, could endanger democratic well-being of the targeted country. Hence, cybersecurity must be taken seriously to take precautionary measures and prevent threat of cyberattacks.

On April 17, 2019, Indonesia will hold simultaneous presidential and legislative elections believed to be among the most complex and largest elections in the world. Indonesia is the world`s fourth most populous nation, with some 260 million people, and the world`s largest archipelagic country, with over 17 thousand islands.

Four months prior to the elections, cyberattacks have already increased in Indonesia, according to the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN).

"From January to October 2018, BSSN had detected 207.9 million trojan attacks and 36 million malware activities, mostly targeting domains of ac.id, co.id, and go.id," Djoko Setiadi, the chairman of BSSN, revealed while addressing participants of a seminar themed "Materializing Conducive Cyber Space To Support Implementation of the 2019 Legislative and Presidential Elections," organized in Jakarta on December 12, 2018.

Earlier, the agency had reported that a total of 143.6 million cyberattacks occurred during the January-June 2018 period.

Moreover, some 2,363 complaints were lodged by the public, of which 61 percent were related to cyber fraud.

He expressed concern over cyberattacks having developed fast, even swifter than the progress in technology and the capability to take precautionary measures, so it is risky and could trigger a crisis in every field at a massive scale of dissemination.

To deal with the increased incidents of cyberattacks, incessant precautionary measures are crucial. Hence, the BSSN has become the central authority for coordinating and driving improved cybersecurity round-the-clock everyday to protect the country`s internet system.

Last September, Deputy House Speaker Fadli Zon, who is from Gerindra, called for a forensic audit of the information technology (IT) of the General Elections Commission (KPU), as a precautionary measure against cyberattacks and fraud.

The results of the IT forensic audit should be made accessible to the respective teams of both presidential candidates.

The KPU should recruit cybersecurity experts from various universities in Indonesia to prevent KPU`s cyber system from being hacked or penetrated by outsiders, Zon stated.

It needs collaboration and synergy involving various stakeholders of national cybersecurity to build trust, capability, and a mechanism of fast coordination to detect cyberattack threats, so they could be dealt with properly and curbed.

To discuss the trends in cyber threats and a scheme of precautionary measures to tackle them, BSSN organized the seminar and invited speakers from the Indonesian Association of Internet Providers, KPU, General Election Supervisory Body (Bawaslu), National Police`s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim), state-owned telecommunication company PT Telkom, and prominent IT practitioners.

The seminar`s participants comprised representatives of government institutions, national critical information infrastructure, and digital economic companies.

The seminar also discussed the results of cyberattacks in 2018 and forecasts on cyberattacks in 2019, particularly concerning attempts to disrupt the 2019 elections.

Earlier this month, Communication and Informatics Minister Rudiantara had reiterated that cybersecurity is crucial to deal with the threat of cyber crimes.

Effective cybersecurity reduces the risks of cyberattacks and protects election results, companies, organizations, and individuals from the deliberate exploitation of systems, networks, and technologies.

Moreover, on October 9-12, 2018, BSSN organized the fourth CodeBali cyber security conference in Bali to discuss cyber challenges.

The 2018 CodeBali was themed "Cyber Security Solutions for The Emerging Threat: Protection in Critical Information Infrastructure and IoT Word."

Through CodeBali 2018, the agency has also called for stronger cooperation, synergy, and collaboration in cybersecurity among various stakeholders engaged in the Internet endeavor.

The Bali event was aimed at unifying capabilities of experts and youngsters from several Asian countries to deal with massive cyberattacks, which not only target Indonesia but also other countries.

CodeBali activities included a series of simulation activities on ethical hacking, computer network security, incident handling, and cybersecurity.

Rudi Lumanto, chairman of Indonesia Security Incidents Response Team on Internet Infrastructure/Coordination Center, or ID-SIRTII/CC, lauded the capabilities of young Indonesians mastering cybersecurity technology.

Their capability in mastering the cyber network holds huge promise and could become hard stocks of the Indonesian government in developing the digital industry or Industry 4.0 in the future, he stated.

If institutions guarding the Indonesian cyber network are not protected by those with the knowledge and capability, a cyber disaster is just a matter of time away, he noted.

The number of internet users in Indonesia has reached some 132 million, making it crucial for the country to develop reliable cybersecurity mechanisms.

Hence, in June 2017, President Joko Widodo inaugurated the establishment of the national cyber agency called BSSN.

BSSN is responsible for detecting and preventing cybercrimes and maintaining cybersecurity in effective and efficient ways by utilizing, developing, and consolidating all components related to cybersecurity.

Although the BSSN chief is directly accountable to the president, the coordination on cybersecurity, which involves the BSSN, Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI), National Intelligence Agency (BIN), National Counter Terrorism Agency (BNPT), and National Narcotic Agency (BNN), is under Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto.

Reporter: Fardah Assegaf
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2018