Stakeholders show reservations on cyber crime bill
ISLAMABAD – While Ministry of Information and Technology is busy in reviewing the proposed prevention of electronic crime bill 2015, the stakeholders believe that cyber crime was not really the core issue for a country like Pakistan, where a mere 10 percent population use internet, but cyber terrorism and cyber wars.
“We have no updated technology to stop hackers from stealing data, neither we have any expertise in filtering contents of any website, what we can do is simply stop the access of that website,” said a senior official on Thursday.
“We are still not clear who terrorist organizations are,” he added.
A top official of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority told this scribe that the authority has no list of any terrorist organizations.
“You should ask Ministry of Interior instead of asking us, we don’t have any list of terrorist organizations,” the official was responding to a question whether the PTA has started blocking terrorist organizations.
What the ministry of IT or Interior is doing to prevent or stop cyber terrorism in the country and what is actually the capacity of all the organizations dealing with cyber terrorism, no one clearly comment on it but pass the responsibility on to other departments.
Whether it is for just an eyewash or for political reasons, the ground facts are alarming.
According to a report by Forbes magazine, the number of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) events topping 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) in the first half of 2014, were double than those in 2013 as more than 100 attacks at 100Gbps or higher were recorded in the first six months of 2014.
According to reports, hackers from different parts of the world last year had continued to launch DDoS attacks on Pakistani websites. They not only hacked websites belonging to the security forces and the federal government, but also leaked private data of government and security officials.
By contrast, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) – the country’s premier anti-cybercrime watchdog, under Ministry of Interior, lacks the capacity to cope with such attacks.
The stakeholders raise their concerns and ask the government to invest resources in this field also.
We rank around 170th in world ranking in terms of internet use, and out of them a tiny part use internet for financial or other important transactions, cyber crime is not an immediate threat, instead of wasting time on proposing new bill, the ministry of IT should have spent resources and time on pointing out flaws in our cyber arena, said a senior executive of a local company.
According to FIA officials, even the recently updated National Response Centre for Cyber Crime (NR3C), an FIA division responsible for dealing with cybercrimes, don’t have capacity and technology to trace attacks, executed by hackers through proxies, such as TOR, free software that enables online anonymity and resists censorship.
It is worth mentioning that government’s concerned departments reportedly failed to block an affiliated website of infamous terrorist organization, TTP, while Youtube is banned in the country since last many years.
The Ministry of IT officials denied the allegations stating that it was not the mandate of their ministry.