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Bjorka Hunt: Indonesian Parliament Passes Personal Data Protection Bill


After a series of data leaks pertaining to 1.3 billion registered phone numbers and 105 million voters and confidential official records of the President’s correspondence, Indonesia's newly established data protection task force is chasing down a hacker dubbed 'Bjorka'.  
 
Bjorka claims to be based in Warsaw, Poland and has been stealing and selling data that included information pertaining to state-owned enterprises, mobile phone operators, and the general election commission. The stolen data was found to be sold on a BreachForums for the past few weeks. The hacker has also leaked confidential logs of incoming and outgoing documents between Indonesia's President Joko Widodo and the State Intelligence Agency.  
 
The hacker has been tweeting for the past weeks with regards to the leaks, he boldly made statements like “stop being an idiot” directed towards the government. The day after a senior informatics applications official appealed to Bjorka to stop leaking the country’s personal data, at a press conference on September 5th. Bjorka also mentioned in another tweet about how easy it is “to get into various data protection policy [...] primarily if it is managed by the government.” 
 
In the wake of the incident, at least three of Bjorka’s Twitter accounts have been suspended by the government. 
 
Bjorka’s Hunt initiated by the data protection task force has led to the arrest of a man in Madiun, East Java who is believed to be Bjorka. The 21-year-old man, going by the initials MAH, is being interrogated by the force, though he has not been formally charged with any criminal offense as of yet. Currently, the real identity of Bjorka remains unknown as there is no credible information regarding his whereabouts.
 
Chief executive of Jakarta-based Digital Forensic Indonesia, Mr. Ruby stated that instead of focusing only on the latest data breach, the task force should also investigate similar leaks and related cases since 2019.  It will allow the lessons from past cases to prevent any such incidents that may happen in the future. 
 
“It’s better for the task force to improve data management. Relevant institutions just denied data leaks in the past few years and did not enhance their data protection and therefore, there have been recurring data leaks,” states Mr. Alfons Tanujaya, IT security specialist at Vaksincom. 

With regard to the recent surge in data breaches and particularly the aforementioned case, the Indonesian Parliament passed the Personal Data Protection Bill on Tuesday. The Communications minister Johnny G Plate stated that the bill “marks a new era in the management of personal data in Indonesia, especially on the digital front.” The bill includes corporate fines and up to six-year imprisonment for those who are found to have mishandled data for breaching rules on distributing or gathering personal data.

Documents of Indonesian President Allegedly Leaked on the BreachForums Page

 

Bjorka, a self-proclaimed hacker is back in the spotlight after announcing that he had breached Indonesian President Joko Widodo's (Jokowi) data. The hacker leaked documents on the BreachForums page last week on Friday. 

After causing a public stir by leaking the dataset containing 20 GB of information of 105 million Indonesian citizens last month, the hacker claimed that he has now managed to leak the secret documents of the President. 

In his upload, the hacker explained that he had secured access to the president’s mailing system and stole nearly 680,000 documents, including letters from the State Intelligence Agency (BIN). 

The claim was first reported by anonymous Twitter user “Darktracer” who reposted screenshots of Bjorka’s list of purported stolen president’s documents. Subjects of the “leaked” documents appear to be non-classified, such as the rehearsal for the 2019 Independence Day flag-hoisting ceremony. 

However, Heru Budi Hartono, the head of the Presidential Secretariat, dismissed the hacker claims by stating that none of the contents of the letter were hacked. 

“There is no data on the contents of any letters that have been hacked. However, these attempts to hack have violated the law,” Hartono said. I think law enforcement will take legal action. Later there will be an official statement from the relevant officials.” 

Government entities feeling the heat

Let’s face it – data breaches are everywhere. It seems like every week a new story emerges regarding government entities falling victim to yet another cyber attack. 

Last month, a combination of ransomware and DDoS attacks disrupted Montenegro’s government services and prompted the nation's electrical utility to switch to manual control. Montenegro's Agency for National Security accused Russia of being responsible for them and has said that up to €2.5mn were invested to launch cyber-attacks. 

“Coordinated Russian services are behind the cyber attack,” the National Security Agency stated. “This kind of attack was carried out for the first time in Montenegro and it has been prepared for a long period of time.”  

In the same month, multiple Taiwanese government sites were also halted by distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks following the much-publicized arrival of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who became the first high-ranking U.S. official in 25 years to visit the democratic island nation. 

The cyber attacks caused intermittent outages across the government English portal, some websites of the presidential office, the foreign ministry, and the defense ministry. 

According to Taiwan's foreign ministry, the attacks on its website and the government's English portal were linked to Chinese and Russian IP addresses that tried to access the websites up to 8.5 million times per minute.

Taiwan has accused China of ramping up cyber assaults since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who views the island as a sovereign nation and not a part of China. In 2020, Taiwanese authorities said China-linked hackers breached at least 10 Taiwan government agencies and secured access to nearly 6,000 email accounts in an attempt to exfiltrate data.

Millions Of Indonesians Personal Information Leaked Over a Data Breach

 

In their COVID-19 test-and-trace application, Indonesia investigated a probable security vulnerability that left 1.3 million individuals' data and health status exposed. 

On Friday 3rd of September, following a week-long cyber-attack, PeduliLindungi became the country's second COVID-19 tracking app following eHAC to suffer a data breach. The PeduliLindungi leak has not been identified yet, but the eHAC violation has impacted 1.3 million users. These 2 data breaches occurred in succession within a week. 

The eHAC Data Breach 

According to a Health Ministery official, the government is suspecting its partner as the likely source of infringement in the eHAC app ( electronic health alert card), which has been disabled since July 02. 

The EHAC is a necessary prerequisite for travelers entering Indonesia, which was launched this year. It maintains the records of the health condition of users, personal information, contact information, COVID-19 test results, and many others. 

Researchers from the vpnMentor encryption provider who perform a web mapping operation have discovered a breach to detect unauthorized data stores with confidential material. 

On 22nd July, researchers informed Indonesia's Emergency Response Team and have revealed their conclusions. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology published a statement on August 31, more than one month after the disclosure, which stated that the data violation would be investigated according to the Electronic Systems and Transactions Regulations of the country. 

Anas Ma'ruf, a health ministry official said, "The eHAC from the old version is different from the eHAC system that is a part of the new app”. "Right now, we're investigating this suspected breach". 

PeduliLindungi Leak

A data search function on the PeduliLindungi-application enables anybody to search for personal data and information on COVID-19 vaccination for Indonesians, including that from the president, Damar Juniarto, a privacy rights activist who also is the vice president of regional government relations at technology firm Gojek, as per a Twitter thread. 

Zurich-based cybersecurity analyst Marc Ruef has shared a screenshot with the President of a compromised COVID-19 vaccination certificate, as it includes his national identity number. However, Ruef did not specifically mention whether PeduliLindungi's data was disclosed. All this explicates that personal identification data and confidential information is scattered everywhere. 

While the Government admitted the breach of the eHAC data and presented a plan of action for the analysis and restoration of flaws, PeduliLindungi has been exonerated. 

The Ministery of Communications and Information Technology of the state, called Kominfo, states that the data on the president's NIK and vaccination records did not originate in the database of PeduliLindungi.

Experts claim such data violations highlight the inadequate cyber security architecture in Indonesia. In May, the officials also conducted a survey on the alleged violation by the state insurer of the country of social security data.