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National Data Centre Hit by Ransomware Attack, Disrupting Public Services

National Data Centre Hit by Ransomware Attack, Disrupting Public Services
National Data Centre Hit by Ransomware Attack, Disrupting Public Services

A ransomware attack on the Temporary National Data Centre (PDNS) in Surabaya has caused significant disruptions to public services, including immigration and online student registration.

The National Data Centre (PDN) has been hit by a ransomware attack since Thursday, 20th June 2024. This has resulted in several public services, such as immigration, experiencing disruptions.

The data centre attacked was Surabaya’s Temporary National Data Centre (PDNS).

According to the National Cyber and Crypto Agency (BSSN), the disruption was caused by a ransomware attack called Brain Cipher. This ransomware is the latest development of the LockBit 3.0 Ransomware.

“This is the latest development of the LockBit 3.0 ransomware. So this ransomware is being continuously developed. This is the latest version after we have seen the samples that have been analysed temporarily by forensics from BSSN,” he said at a press conference at the Ministry of Communication and Information on Monday, 24th of June 2024.

Siburian explained that BSSN, the Ministry of Communication and Information, and Telkomsigma were still trying to restore all services, including breaking the encryption that rendered data on PDN inaccessible.

Foreign media have also reported ransomware attacks on data centres used by the government to run various electronic population system services, among others.

The Washington Post, for example, highlighted the impact of the incident, which caused more than 200 government services, both national and regional, to be disrupted.

The Register also highlighted the impact of the ransomware attack on PDNS. Not only immigration services but also online registration for new students is not yet available in several areas due to the PDN disruption. As a result, the registration period for new students was extended beyond the previously set deadline.

PDN hackers have taken some data hostage and offered access keys. However, to obtain the key, the Indonesian government needs to pay a ransom of US$8 million (around Rp130 billion).

The Minister of Communication and Information, Budi Arie Setiadi, himself emphasised that his department, as PDN manager, would not pay the ransom requested by the hackers.

As of Tuesday, 25th of June 2024, several government online services have gradually recovered, including immigration services at international airports. Despite this, the government continues to make efforts to restore other services.

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