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Hackers Strike Indonesia: Government Data Held Hostage in $8 Million Ransomware Attack



Chaos at Jakarta Airport! $8 Million Ransom Cripples Government After Massive Cyberattack
Cyberattack Disrupts Indonesia's Government Services and Major Airport

Indonesia’s national data center was compromised in a cyberattack last week, impacting hundreds of government offices and causing significant delays at the country’s main airport, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta. Officials revealed on Monday that the attack, believed to be carried out by the notorious ransomware group LockBit, encrypted government data, rendering it inaccessible.

The attackers demanded a hefty ransom of $8 million to decrypt the data. The Indonesian communications ministry confirmed that immigration services were gradually returning to normal on Monday, but restoration efforts for other affected services were still ongoing.

LockBit: A Growing Threat

Authorities are actively investigating the specific strain of ransomware used, known as Brain Cipher. LockBit, a Russian ransomware outfit, has become a major cybersecurity threat, targeting governments, businesses, schools, and hospitals worldwide. Their ransomware programs encrypt a victim’s data, essentially holding it hostage until a ransom is paid. Estimates suggest LockBit has inflicted billions of dollars in damages and extracted tens of millions in ransoms from its victims.

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International Efforts to Combat LockBit

LockBit’s aggressive tactics have garnered international attention. Last month, the United States, Britain, and Australia imposed sanctions against the group’s leader, accusing them of extorting billions of dollars. Reports indicate LockBit was responsible for a quarter of all ransomware attacks globally in 2023 and has extorted over $1 billion from victims worldwide. Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, identified the United States, Britain, France, Germany, and China as the top five countries targeted by LockBit.

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Indonesia’s Cybersecurity Concerns

The attack highlights Indonesia’s vulnerabilities in the face of cyber threats. The country has a history of weak cybersecurity practices, with limited online literacy among its citizens and frequent data leaks. In 2021, during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a data breach exposed the personal information of over 1.3 million users of a government contact tracing application. This incident followed another major leak in the same year, where data belonging to more than 200 million participants of the National Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) was allegedly compromised by hackers.

These incidents underscore the urgent need for Indonesia to strengthen its cybersecurity infrastructure and enhance public awareness about online safety practices.

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