Hybrid warfare threat should be anticipated at the earliest

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The plan to develop a cybersecurity network in 43 work units under the Indonesian National Defense Force Headquarters (Mabes TNI) is a form of precautionary measure against the threat of hybrid warfare.

The development of a cybersecurity network aims to bolster TNI’s cyber defense and to protect the nation against various digital threats as well as to support the military incident response team’s work.

According to Chief of the National Defense Forces (TNI) General Andika Perkasa, this team was formed as a result of the cooperation between Mabes TNI and National Cyber and Crypto Agency (BSSN).

As reported by ANTARA on Monday, the TNI chief along with his officials were directly updated through the material on cybersecurity network or system presented by PT Len Industry (Persero).

PT Len Industry is a state-owned enterprise engaged in the field of telecommunication network and electronics for defense, among others.

PT Len’s representative notified the chief that the cybersecurity system works through closed circuit television (CCTV) that monitors TNI’s cyber activity traffic, attack attempts, and forecast of possible attacks.

The development of TNI’s cybersecurity network begins with the formation of a security operation center (SOC) that will be managed under TNI’s Cyber Unit (Satsiber).

TNI Satsiber utilizes the SOC unit to create an analysis on attack attempts, hacking activities, and other digital attacks.

The cyber unit will also receive information on cyberattacks or cyberattack attempts through detection devices.

These devices are planned to be installed at TNI’s 11 work units in Jakarta and Bandung, West Java. The information and data from the detection devices is delivered to TNI Satsiber through a special encrypted channel or VPN.

According to the chief, there must be a special space for TNI’s cybersecurity network operation.

Moreover, Perkasa urged PT Len, as a partner, to provide a technician, who remains on standby at the control center room during the maintenance warranty period of 42 months.

Cyber threat prevention

Cybersecurity expert Pratama Persadha shared his view on TNI’s plan. He believes that the TNI should have the capability to handle cyber threats. In the digital era, internal and external attacks are effective in the cyber realm.

TNI, as the main element of the nation’s defense, should perform an update on every serious threat to the nation, including cyber threats.

There are at least two serious threats, specifically cyber threats and information warfare. Currently, the concept of hybrid warfare, which is the combination of cyber warfare and information warfare, is becoming prevalent.

The threat of cyber warfare pushes the TNI to prepare human resources and infrastructures that support efforts to strengthen cyber security.

While BSSN already exists, the TNI still has the duty to secure infrastructure, data, and human resource assets from manipulation efforts and massive data theft.

Persadha cited the example of Sony hacking cases and the attack on Ukraine’s important infrastructure. These cases are an eye opener on how modern warfare currently occurs.

The TNI bears a huge responsibility. However, the military force must possess cybersecurity skills first before expanding to the ability to handle cyber warfare.

For instance, during the war in Ukraine, the nation’s vital infrastructure was disabled first before the Russian military invaded, thereby causing the people to face issues in using social media platforms.

Modern warfare no longer only relies on weaponry but also mastery over digital information channels, such as social media and cyber infrastructure security. This has become a must.

Strengthening TNI’s human resources and cyber infrastructure must follow the regulation development in the nation, starting from law comprehension to technical mastery and until cooperation with overseas institutions.

At the very least, the people need to see how prepared the TNI is in dealing with the threat of cyber warfare, which necessitates simulation and joint practice, Persadha noted.

This is especially important since other nations have become serious in bolstering their military’s cyber sector, he affirmed.

For instance, Malaysia strengthened its military to deal with cyberattacks since 2013.

This comes to a head in 2016, in which the nation claims that its military is truly ready in terms of the system, human resources, and technical skills.

Not too late

Building cybersecurity capability in TNI is never too late, especially since several Indonesians are capable of helping. In fact, the domestic technology already exists, and the nation only needs to utilize it.

Cyber strength in the TNI should be built on the foundation of trust among citizens in order to avoid becoming victims of foreign exploitation for utilizing overseas technologies.

Persadha opined that the TNI should reform its cadre system to produce the best cyber human resources.

This is important based on the increasingly pressing need for defense. To this end, human resources that understand analysis, defense, and attack, as well as possess the knowledge to build the system within the TNI become increasingly important and necessary.

Every level requires reliable human resources for, as an example, monitoring and intelligence activities within the cyber realm.

With this, the most important current strategy revolved around human resources. This can be developed in parallel with infrastructure development. However, without reliable human resources, all cyber infrastructure will be useless.

The TNI needs a cyber team at every level and cyber command center. Hence, every level of the TNI is currently building its own cyber centre.

Let us hope that within several years, this can improve TNI’s capacity in the cyber realm.

Source: Antara News