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Published Date: Jan 5, 2016

Cybre security important as banned outfits can manipulate data

ISLAMABAD: The importance of securing internet data is becoming increasingly important as countries, organisations and even banned outfits and criminals now know more about getting and manipulating data.

This was said by experts at a seminar on ‘Cyber security and emerging threats’ hosted by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute on Monday.

Former additional director general Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Ammar Jaffrey said Daesh had access to excellent internet connections which were speedy, secure and enabled them to link with anyone globally. He said criminals today have complete understanding of the internet and other technology which was why cyber security was so important.

He added that a secure online environment can only be achieved via international cooperation.

All 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals depend on secure information and communication technology (ICT), Mr Jaffrey said and that it would be difficult for Pakistan to develop if it did not bring improvements to ICT.

The wars of the future will not be physical, he said, they will be fought without the destruction of infrastructure, much like the Russo-Georgian Cyber attacks.

Experts say introduction of new cyber security law will make protecting civilians online easier
Deputy director FIA Syed Aun Abbas Bukhari explained that cyber security was a joint responsibility of both the government and the citizens.

He said FIA was at par with international organisations, especially in forensic testing, but that it was difficult to move forward in the absence of an international agreement.

“The National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes is a major stakeholder in framing a draft cyber law, which has been tabled in parliament. The enactment of the law will support the law enforcing agencies in this regard,” he said.

Mr Bukhari added that the agency had received 7,000 complaints regarding cyber security and that 5,000 inquiries had been conducted.

“We trained 200 children and have declared them cyber scouts. They will tell other children about the importance of internet safety,” he said.

Cyber space is a virtual environment created by devices, he said. It has benefited society but it has also brought difficulties because governments, hospitals, companies and others now store data in devices which also need to be protected.

“We interact on Facebook and Whatsapp and store data on clouds. The telecom sector is also evolving into data networks.”

He said viruses, malicious software and hackers posed threats to internet users and the security of their online activities. Companies now employ cyber security experts to keep their data safe, he said.

“People should not use a simple password and should not share them with others. A simple word or PDF file is enough to compromise your computer,” he warned.

Director Cyber Wing, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Shahzad Mohammad Basheer said: “Raising awareness about these problems and threats is important. The legal infrastructure required to protect the people is missing. After the passage of a law, protecting online assets will become easier.”

Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Dr Ismail Shah said the positive use of ICTs should not be stopped just because of the dangers because that will hinder development.