Body formed to counter DoS attacks on government websites
ISLAMABAD- A high-powered committee has been formed to counter repeated denial of service (DoS) attacks on government websites by foreign hackers, the minister for information technology, Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari, said on May 2, 2003.
“The seven-member committee, headed by Nooruddin Baqai, member telecom of the information technology ministry, will come up with a concrete strategy to stem the incidence of DoS attacks,” Mr Leghari said.
He made the announcement following a meeting with representatives of internet service providers (ISPs), officials of the ministry, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), PTCL, Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) and Comsats.
The minister said identification of those launching DoS attacks involved a complex and lengthy process. “However, if such attackers were identified, the government of Pakistan will raise the matter at the relevant international fora as cyber laws were in place to check crimes such as DoS attacks,” he said.
The committee will work on urgent basis and suggest short-term measures within two days while a comprehensive strategy will also be submitted to the minister within five days.
The minister said the committee would also discuss whether there was a possibility of changing the host servers of government websites to keep them safe from hackers.
“There is no harm in transferring the sites to foreign hosts as there are several in the international market who offer such services,” he said.
Mr Leghari said his ministry would also ensure that national security was not jeopardized by any decision. He said the issue of DoS attacks had assumed serious proportion and such attacks were deliberately aimed at crippling the vital internet backbone links which would in turn affect the national economy. He called for joint efforts of the public and private sector to combat this menace.
He said internet had become a critical communication medium facilitating commercial activities, and measures were being adopted to ensure that the end-users enjoyed a high-quality and reliable service.
He said the PTCL had already issued public invitation to international experts to undertake technical audit of its internet backbone network to identify weak links and suggest ways for improving efficiency as well as addressing security issues.
The minister asked the PTCL to address the complaints of ISPs within two weeks regarding delays in the signing of service-level agreements with the PTCL.
“Hopefully, this issue will soon be solved amicably,” he added. The minister said he had also directed the PTCL to finalize the issue of tariff rationalization for internet as well as international private-leased lines for the benefit of ISPs, call centres and corporate users.