Semarang (ANTARA) - The Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) comprises three branches: the Indonesian Army (TNI AD), Indonesian Navy (TNI AL), and Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU). Recently, there has been growing discourse on the need for a fourth branch: a dedicated cyber military force.

Andi Widjajanto, former governor of the National Resilience Institute (Lemhanas), considers it crucial for the government to act swiftly on this idea.

The creation of a cyber military force is becoming inevitable, considering that state as well as non-state entities can now mount attacks on countries through cyberspace, which do not entail the deployment of conventional war equipment, he opined.

Pratama Persada, a cybersecurity expert from State Intelligence College (STIN), emphasized the potential dangers of cyberwar. He warned that an attack launched in cyberspace can cripple a targeted country's economy, especially if its banking and financial sectors are targeted.

Such unconventional warfare can disrupt essential infrastructure and facilities related to energy, telecommunication, transportation, and even state administration. Ignoring the possibility of a cyberattack preceding a conventional assault would be imprudent. A nation caught unprepared could be left highly vulnerable.

Indonesia is not powerless in terms of cybersecurity. The National Intelligence Agency (BIN), National Police (Polri), National Cyber and Crypto Agency (BSSN), and the Ministry of Communication and Informatics all play a role.

However, none of these institutions has the sole responsibility of fortifying Indonesia's defenses and repelling cyberattacks. Therefore, establishing a cyber force within the TNI could provide the country with an institution solely focused on cyber threats.

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While the TNI already has a cyber unit, its activities and operations are internal, supporting the military's core duties.

The need for a cyber military force has become even more pressing after a recent cyberattack by a foreign hacker disrupted the system of TNI's Strategic Intelligence Agency (BAIS).

The Head of TNI's Information Center, Major General Nugraha Gumilar, confirmed that the compromised data was already publicly available earlier this year.

On June 24, a hacker uploaded a screenshot from BreachForums on X, announcing they had breached BAIS systems and data. The screenshot showed alleged data samples and offers for the full set at a price.

This same hacker claimed to have compromised the networks of Polri's Automatic Fingerprint Identification System (INAFIS) two days prior. The perpetrator claimed to have acquired sensitive data like fingerprint images, emails, and application configurations, demanding $1,000 for it.

BSSN Head Hinsa Siburian downplayed the threat, stating the compromised data was outdated and the INAFIS breach did not disrupt operations.

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He also clarified that this incident was unrelated to a separate ransomware attack on the Temporary National Data Center (PDNS) 2 in Surabaya, East Java, on June 20.

The government announced on June 24 that 211 government agencies were affected by the PDNS attack, with the number rising to 282 by the following day.

During a parliamentary meeting on June 27, Minister of Communication and Informatics Budi Arie Setiadi assured everyone the cyberattack was by non-state actors and resulted in no data leaks.

STIN's Persadha expressed belief that the TNI must reform its recruitment system to identify and train the best cyber-capable soldiers. He said that the TNI needs personnel who can analyze cyber threats and fortify its internal systems.

Before establishing a fourth force, the TNI needs to ensure its existing branches have personnel capable of monitoring and conducting cyber intelligence operations.

Both infrastructure and skilled personnel are crucial to defending Indonesia from cutting-edge threats. Without them, all efforts will be futile.

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Translator: D. Kliwantoro, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Anton Santoso
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