Government department asked to protect websites -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Government department asked to protect websites

ISLAMABAD- The chief executive’s secretariat has directed the federal and provincial governments to take measures for protecting official websites from hostile agencies and computer hackers.

The federal divisions and provincial departments have also been asked to get their software cleared from the National Communications Security Board of the cabinet division before installing them on their networks.

The government has also approved the services of two internet service providers- Public Data Com and Comsats- for the government departments.

Official sources told Dawn on Friday that from now onwards all non-classified data of the divisions and departments would be posted on official websites only by the ministry of information and media development.

Departmental security committees are also being set up to scrutinize the data before releasing them on websites.

The measures for securing the websites include banning use of internet-connected computers for typing purposes or storing of any official correspondence, confidential or otherwise, on such computer. A stand-alone system has been recommended for this purpose.

Exchange of classified messages by the government departments through internet has been banned. They have been directed to deem information taken from Internet suspect until confirmed by or from other sources.

The user ID password would also be shared by officials. It would be known to the designated officer only and changed frequently. Log-in password and other security information would also not be exchanged on the Internet.

The users have also been directed not to accept any cookies offered by various websites. Similarly, no encryption software acquired from any sources should be used for provision of security to messages intended to be sent through e-mail.

Interfacing of an Internet connection with a LAN/WAN (Local Area Network/Wide Area Network) established in any ministry, division, department and autonomous body has also been strictly prohibited.

However, the same can be interfaced with a LAN/WAN established solely for extension of the Internet facility. In such cases, the government institutions will render a certificate to the cabinet division twice in a calendar year on January 1 and July 1.

This certificate should indicate that the Internet is not being used for exchange of classified information, or for processing of official information. Besides, no information should be exchanged through Internet as wiretapping message interception is possible.

Source: Dawn
Date:3/5/2001