Indonesia's Immigration Services Gradually Restored Following Major Disruption at National Data Center

 Service disruption at Indonesia's National Data Center (PDN) that began on Thursday, June 20, 2024, temporarily crippled the immigration services. (Illustration: Christoph Scholz)

The Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Informatics (Kominfo) has provided updates on the handling of the service disruption at the National Data Center (PDN) that began on Thursday, June 20, 2024. The disruption has also affected immigration services.

Immigration services at the international airport have been carried out manually since then, causing long lines.

Samuel Abrijani Pangerapan, Director General of Applications and Informatics at Kominfo, stated that following repairs, some immigration services are gradually being restored.

"Some immigration services through autogates at Soekarno Hatta Airport have resumed operations gradually. Meanwhile, autogate services at other airports are still in the process of being restored," he said in a written statement on Saturday, June 22, 2024, as quoted by Kompas.

In addition to the autogate system, other immigration services such as passport issuance, visas, and residence permits are also beginning to operate again. "To ensure the immigration process continues, manual verification services are still being used," he added.

Samuel mentioned that Kominfo is making continuous efforts to restore the disruptions at PDN. He noted that various intensive efforts are being made in collaboration with the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN), the Indonesian National Police (Polri), relevant ministries/agencies, PT Telkom Indonesia, and other service providers.

"Any updates on the restoration of PDN will be communicated periodically," he said.

Previously reported, the system disruption at Kominfo's PDN affected immigration services across Indonesia on Thursday, June 20, 2024.

This resulted in long queues at immigration checkpoints in several airports, which were criticized by netizens on social media.

The PDN system is not only used by the Directorate General of Immigration but also by many other ministries/agencies. According to official Kominfo systems, PDN serves as a facility for electronic systems and components to store, place, process, and recover data.

The PDN was also spotlighted during the 2023 incident involving the alleged leak of 34 million Indonesian passport data being sold online.

Minister of Communication and Informatics Budi Arie Setiadi mentioned that several public services were affected due to the system failure at PDN. He stated that Kominfo is gradually restoring these services.

“I assure you that the team is working optimally to expedite the recovery,” said Budi on Thursday, June 20, 2024.

Kominfo is still investigating the cause of the disruption at the PDN.

Chairman of the Cyber Security Research Institute (CISSReC), Pratama Persadha, speculated that the disruption might be due to a cyberattack using ransomware. He argued that if the issue were purely technical, the repair would not take as long.

"If we look at the pattern of disruptions, it is possible that the problem at PDN was caused by a cyberattack using ransomware, similar to the attack that previously affected Bank Syariah Indonesia (BSI)," Pratama said in a press release on Friday, June 21, 2024.

Pratama expressed concern that the risk would be greater if the disruption was due to a virus attack, which could not only disrupt services but also result in data leaks. He noted that there was a previous cyberattack on immigration data leading to the leak of 34 million passport records.

"The more dangerous scenario is if hackers gain access to the servers at PDN, which could lead to data leaks not only affecting the Directorate General of Immigration but also other institutions using PDN to store public data," he explained.