Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2016-11-16: Reminiscing About The Days of Cyber War Between Indonesia and Australia

Image is taken from Wikipedia

Indonesia and Australia are neighboring countries that, just like what always happens between neighbors, have a hot-and-cold relationship. The History has recorded a number of disputes between Indonesia and Australia, from East Timor disintegration (now Timor Leste) in 1999 to the Bali Nine case (the execution of Australian drug smugglers) in 2015. One of the issues that has really caused a stir in Indonesia-Australia's relationship is the spying imbroglio conducted by Australia toward Indonesia. The tension arose when an Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald published an article titled Exposed: Australia's Asia spy network and a video titled Spying at Australian diplomatic facilities on October 31st, 2013. It revealed one of Edward Snowden's leaks that Australia had been spying on Indonesia since 1999. This startling fact surely enraged Indonesia's government and, most definitely, the people of Indonesia.

Indonesia strongly demanded clarification and an explanation by summoning Australia's ambassador, Greg Moriarty. Indonesia also demanded Australia to apologize. But Australia refused to apologize by arguing that this is something that every government will do to protect its country. The situation was getting more serious when it was also divulged that an Australian security agency attempted to listen in on Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's cell phone in 2009. Yet, Tony Abbott, Australia's prime minister at that time, still refused to give either explanation or apology. This caused President Yudhoyono to accuse Tony Abbott of 'belittling' Indonesia's response to the issue. All of these situations made the already enraged Indonesian became more furious. Furthermore, Indonesian people judged that the government was too slow in following up and responding to this issue.

Image is taken from The Australian

To channel their frustration and anger, a group of Indonesian hacktivists named '
anonymous Indonesia' launched a number of attacks to hundreds of Australian websites that were chosen randomly. They hacked and defaced those websites to spread the message 'stop spying on Indonesia'. Over 170 Australian websites were hacked during November 2013, some of them are government websites such as Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Australian hackers also took revenge by attacking several important Indonesian websites such as the Ministry of Law and Human Rights and Indonesia's national airline, Garuda Indonesia. But, the number of the attacked websites is not as many as what have been attacked by the Indonesians. These websites are already recovered now and they look as if the attacks never happened. Fortunately, those who never heard this spying row before, could take advantage of using Internet Archive and go back in time to see how those websites looked like when they got attacked. Unfortunately, not all of those attacked websites have archives for November 2013. For example, according to Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the ASIS websites were hacked on November 11, 2013. The Australian newspaper also reported that ASIO website was also hacked on November 13, 2013. But, these incidents were not archived by the Internet Archive as we cannot see any snapshot for the given dates.*/*/

However, we are lucky enough to have sufficient examples to give us a clear idea of the cyber war that once took place between Indonesia and Australia.

                   - Erika (@erikaris)-

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