Information Technology minister for rapid build-up of IT force against cyber attacks | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Information Technology minister for rapid build-up of IT force against cyber attacks

KARACHI – Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecom, Syed Aminul Haque, on Monday, said there were millions of cyber-attacks every day all over the world, including 5.5 million attacks for ransom through malicious software, which called for rapid response through build-up of IT force.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of two-day IT programme titled “Digital Pakistan Cyber Security Hackathon 2021” which was the first of its kind and launched from Karachi. Lahore and Islamabad would be the next destinations.

Hackathon has been organised attached department of Federal Ministry of Information Technology. It was attended by 266 cyber security experts from different districts of Sindh who would undergo special test in which they would qualify for the next stage.

The successful cyber security experts would not only receive huge cash prizes but become a part of Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) that would be soon formed by the Ministry of IT. The purpose of “Cyber Security Hackathon” was to train and prepare cyber security experts in the country under the country’s first cyber security policy issued by IT Ministry.

It would also test the capabilities of existing experts and train cyber security experts at the national level. These experts would prevent and respond to cyber-attacks on national and private institutions.

Federal Minister for IT and Telecom, Syed Aminul Haque said during last year such attacks did cost almost $20 billion to international organisations.

With increase in the use of technology and online activities around the world, various types of cyber-crimes were also on rise. He said seriousness of the cyber security situation could be judged through the international statistics released on this account. Millions of cyber-attacks were also being done in Pakistan every day. Therefore, he continued, there was need to increase the number of these experts over time.

The minister revealed that many Pakistani institutions including banks and important companies had been targeted by cyber-attacks.

A few weeks ago, the website of Federal Board of Revenue was hacked and the most important data was compromised. In June this year, Pakistan’s leading musical streaming website “Patari” was cyber-attacked and hackers released data on 257,000 users on the Dark Web.

Last year, K-Electric’s system was hacked and ransom was demanded. The 8.5 GB data of millions of users was posted on the dark web due to non-payment. The data of Meezan Bank, Bank Islami was hacked but the bank asked the customers to change their PIN codes immediately which minimised the loss.

The IT minister also said such attacks showed how insecure the data of our institutions and consumers was.

He cautioned that if the institutions still did not follow the instructions of the Ministry of IT, irreparable damages could be done. Many institutions did not even have cyber security systems, adding that experts should be deployed.

How to stay safe from cyber-attacks was explained in detail in Pakistan’s first cyber security policy launched in July 2021, he informed.

Syed Aminul Haque said IT Ministry had to develop an integrated mechanism so that in case of any cyber-attack on any public or private institution of Pakistan, it should not only be stopped but retaliated.

Under Ministry of IT and Telecom’s department of Ignite, this event was a link in the chain through which the Ministry wanted not only to create awareness among the public about cyber security, but to bring forward creative cyber security experts from across the country.

Federal Minister for IT invited the students of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector in Pakistan and the youth who were planning for their bright future to join to the most important field of cyber security.

He said according to the report of World Economic Forum, cyber security jobs’ demand was ranked fourth in the world, which described that every fourth post in the world was vacant for cyber security experts.

He said there was no shortage of talent in the country, adding, MoITT would provide all possible assistance for grooming educated youth as IT experts.  Chief Executive Officer Ignite Asim Shahryar Husain said the growing importance of cyber security had placed it at number seven among 21 future sustainable technologies with a growth projection of $270 billion by 2026.  The world had already faced enormous damages because of ransom ware and cyber-attacks.

Later, during media talk, Federal Minister for IT and Telecom Syed Ameen-ul-Haq said all federal government ministries and the parliament were made paperless and till January 2023.

He informed that Rs31 billion soft loan at 0.1 percent mark-up had been approved for IT Park in Karachi. He desired launch of this mega IT project before end of this year which would provide at least IT 5,000 jobs to the youth.

However, non-allocation and hand over of the land from Sindh government caused delay in its execution, he remarked

He said his ministry had planned to provide modern IT facilities in the entire Sindh including the remote areas but, he regretted, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government in Sindh was not cooperative.

Source: The Nation

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