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.
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