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Growing challenge of cyber security

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It’s a common thing now-a-days that many of us are receiving fake messages on different mobile networks that there is a good news for you that you could receive a handsome amount; for details please contact on these numbers. Some simple people are trapped and are being looted through fraud and hacking. Hackers can operate anytime from anywhere. The most favorite sector of hackers is the banking system. It is considered and a proven fact through by various reports that this system still has loopholes.
As we all know, Pakistan suffered the largest cyber attack on its banking system in the last days of October, 2018. It was the worse and most unfortunate day when over 19,000 debit cards worth 2.6 million US dollars from 22 Pakistani banks were found to be stolen by cyber thieves, better known as hackers.
The most of the hackers belonged to Russia, but unfortunately, we were unable to protest or pursue this case because there was no mechanism to stop these unethical and unlawful practices. The virtual world is still like that; the hackers are still enjoying unsecure digital world.
Although Pakistan took several measures to save the banking system but the cyber robberies are happening in any case. One Time Password (OTP) system was introduced by the State Bank of Pakistan for foreign and online transactions. It’s more secure and reliable.
In this present world, information is more precious than any metal. Thousands of secret services and social networks are trying to get data through various tools and methods. Their prime purpose is to get first-hand information and knowledge about the people, which is most important on this earth. So, the personal data is precious as well as the thoughts.
The business scenario on this earth is as important as political issues. Most of the entities have their prime object is to get wealth; some are trying to earn it while few are trying to grab it. But it is a reality whether we accept it or not.
Although this digital world looks very attractive but no one is sure whether it is secure or not. It is fact that no-one is convicted for committing digital crime in Pakistan. That’s why people are indulging in taking risk of cyber attack on data banks of financial institutions.
A famous cyber robbery was observed in MCB, DHA Phase IV, Karachi where the Operation Manager was allegedly the culprit. Handsome number of depositors were hit by him for a total amount of around 200 million rupees.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) took the notice of this activity and arrested the Operation Manager of the branch. The major amount was recovered. Now, most of the commercial banks have system to reconcile their accounts on daily basis, but according to reliable sources, the MCB is still following the previous practice to reconcile their accounts i.e. on weekly basis.
The above-mentioned cyber robbery occurred because of this weak, poor and lethargic way of working in the above-mentioned institution.
After COVID-19, E-commerce and online system including banking has been increased. It’s the need of the hour to have a more secured and reliable digital system, especially in the financial sector. The guidelines should be revisited by the regulators concerned. It should be directed by the Ministry of Information & Technology that the cyber governance should be proactive. It is unfortunate that the draft of data protection law is yet to be presented in the Parliament.
Although a Personal Data Protection Authority has been proposed but when it will be passed from both the Lower and the Upper houses, nobody knows. I wonder, the lawmakers are not concerned over the intensity of the situation.
There is a National Response Center for Cyber Crimes (NRCCC) but they have no mechanism to prevent the system from hackers. Unfortunately, ethical hackers are very much here in Pakistan, there is a need to develop the cyber soldiers to secure the Digital System. Corporate banking and some public sector organizations including defence institutions are heading towards the paperless era. There will be no written back-up in the organization’s record room.
So, the digital security shield is more important than any other defence system. However, every institution is seriously working to make its system safe and secured, but we should keep it in mind that the dark webs are also here. Thus, developing the cyber army is the futuristic approach.
Now a days, most of the countries are developing their cyber armies. Some reports show that India has more than ten thousand cyber soldiers, whereas the most trusted neighbor of Pakistan, people’s Republic of China has more than one million cyber security experts. Interestingly, India has its cyber army, which is called Defence Cyber Agency (DCA) is Tri service command of the Indian armed forces. According to media reports, Pakistan Army indentified in August 2020 that the major cyber-attacks on Pakistani websites were from Indians.
I found a Facebook page named Pakistan Cyber Army (PCA) having more than 26,000 followers but it is a private group of Pakistanis. Cyber security experts are trying to defend the Pakistani websites. There is a need to develop an institution of cyber security experts in Pakistan officially. The Federal Government should be vigilant in this regard so as to deal with this challenge.