Indonesia to create 'cyber army' to tackle Web threats

Country's defense ministry is planning the formation of the digital special force to mitigate the threat of hackers against national security.

Indonesia is in the midst of preparing a special military force, called "cyber army", to tackle the threat posed by online hackers against national portals and Web sites which could negatively impact national security.

According to a report by Xinhua Wednesday, the country's defense ministry is looking to propose a law to legalize the operation of the cyber army, which was conceived after attacks against national Internet portals and Web sites in the past three years.

Pos M. Hutabarat, director general of security potentials at the defense ministry, said the only law Indonesia has right now to address cyber crime is the IITE law, which regulates online information and transactions for civilians and carries a fine of up to 1 billion rupiah (US$102,000).

Given the inadequate protection, Hutabarat said there is an urgent need to create the cyber army to combat online threats. This special force will be manned by uniformed soldiers trained on information technology and equipped with skills to prevent cyberattacks.

However, Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said earlier the establishment of the cyber army would require the full support of the Communication and Information Ministry. This is because the latter will provide telecommunication infrastructure management system, equipment and trainers for the special force, he noted. 

"The Communication and Information Ministry has the capacity to build up the cyber security [unit]," Yusgiantoro said, adding the cyber army is planned to be embedded in the navy, army and air force.

On its part, the Communications and Information Ministry is in the process of building a system to protect government Web sites and agencies. Minister Tifatul Sembiring had earlier said government sites have received more than 36.6 million attacks in the past three years, the report noted.

Sembiring also identified China, South Korea, the United States and Russia as the four main culprits for these attacks .

Within the Asia-Pacific region, China and North Korea are two countries that have been reported to have cyber army units too. In 2011, Geng Yansheng, spokesperson for China's Defense Ministry, said the People's Liberation Army set up the cyberwar unit , or "cyber blue team", to support its military training and upgrade the army's Internet security defense.

The Associated Press in March this year also revealed how North Korea are training "cyberwarriors" . Won Sei-hoon, then-chief of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, said in the report there were 1,000 professional hackers in North Korea's cyberwarfare unit in 2009.

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