The number of cybercrimes around the globe and in Pakistan is on the rise, which depicts the need to expand the number of cyber security experts in Pakistan.Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque.
Inaugurating a 2-day (November 1-2) “Digital Pakistan Cyber Security Hackathon 2021”, Aminul Haque revealed that organisations around the world spent around $20 billion due to cyber attacks last year, which showed the seriousness of the issue.
“Millions of cyber attacks are also being made in Pakistan every day,” he said, adding that Pakistani institutions including important banks and companies had been targeted by cyber attackers.
Syed Aminul Haqua revealed that, “the Federal Board of Revenue’s website was hacked a few weeks ago, which compromised the most important data.”
A music streaming website “Patari” was also attacked in June this year and hackers released the data of 257,000 users on the dark web, he said. Last year, K-Electric’s system was hacked and ransom was demanded, he said.
Some banks was hacked including NBP, but they asked customers to change their PIN codes immediately, minimising the loss.
The minister said that such attacks showed “how insecure the data of our institutions and consumers is”.
He cautioned that if the institutions still did not follow the instructions of the ministry, then irreparable damages could be done.
Many institutions did not even have cyber security systems, he said, adding that experts should be deployed.
The minister informed the participants that Pakistan’s first cyber security policy, launched in July 2021, explained the mechanism of staying safe from cyber attacks.
The IT ministry had to develop an integrated mechanism so that in case of any cyber attack on public or private institutions it should not only be stopped but retaliated, he added.
“Under Ministry of IT and Telecom’s department of Ignite, this event is a link in the chain through which the ministry wants not only to create awareness among the public about cyber security, but to bring forward creative cyber security experts from across the country,” he said.
The minister invited students of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector and the youth to join the “most important” field of cyber security.
On the occasion, Ignite Chief Executive Officer Asim Shahryar Husain said that the growing importance of cyber security had placed it at number seven among 21 future sustainable technologies with growth projection of $270 billion by 2026.
The event was attended by 266 cyber security experts from different districts of Sindh, who would undergo tests to qualify for the next stage and the successful experts would become part of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) that would be formed by the IT ministry soon.
The purpose of the programme was to train and prepare cyber security experts under the first cyber security policy unveiled by the IT ministry. The programme was launched in Karachi, and later will be organised in Lahore and Islamabad.