Chinese and Russian hackers are attacking Indonesia’s voter data base in a bid to disrupt the country’s upcoming presidential election, according to a senior election commission official.
As Indonesia prepares for simultaneous presidential and legislative polls on April 17, authorities are facing a wave of cyber incursions they say may be aimed at discrediting the polling process. The head of Indonesia’s General Elections Commission, Arief Budiman, said some of the attacks originated in Russia and China, and include attempts to “manipulate or modify” content as well as to create so-called ghost voters, or fake voter identities.
“They try to hack our system,” Budiman said in an interview in Jakarta on Tuesday. “Not only every day. Almost every hour,” he said, adding it was unclear whether the motive was “to disrupt Indonesia” or to help one of the candidates win. “Voter behavior can be changed by de-legitimizing the organizer of the election,” he said, referring to the General Elections Commission, known as KPU.
The latest developments come in the wake of a crackdown in Indonesia on so-called fake news and the use of social media to influence voters. And it follows allegations of Russian interference the 2016 US presidential election, which was won by Donald Trump.
Russia rejected the allegation of cyber attacks in Indonesia as “baseless,” with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying the country doesn’t meddle.