By ZunNurain Khalid
A few days back I was surfing internet for my daily routine work. I landed on a news post on ProPakistani telling a story of a hacked site of one of the prestigious universities here in Islamabad.
Well, that was not a surprise for me at all frankly, because over the past few months I have seen many websites, blogs and servers being compromised by hackers.
It’s a matter that needs a great degree of attention by all who are directly related i.e. the authorities till the general public.
This comes directly under cybercrime or cyber terrorism that needs to be dealt with iron hands by the authorities. But simultaneously there is a need of creating a general awareness about Cyber Security and Cyber Terrorism so that everyone can at least be able to handle the basic level of cyber security checks or they know what to do when they get to know of their compromised information online.
In order to know the cyber security situation in Pakistan I started my search like a curious blogger myself and found out that there is a government department working on cybercrime and cyber terrorism.
The department is NR3C (National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes) which is serving directly under FIA (Federal Investigation Agency | http://www.fia.gov.pk/). On further questing I found out that there is another non-government body called PISA (The Pakistan Information Security Association | http://pisa.org.pk/) working on the same lines of dealing with Cyber Security issues faced by organizations and even individuals.
Reading details about the cyber security bodies was a breather for me as being in a country where there is no set cyber policy, the rate of crime automatically feared increasing.
For knowing more about cyber security of Pakistan I reached out to Former Additional Director General FIA, Mr. Ammar Jaffri. I penned down a small interview on the topic which goes in the following:
ZunNurain Khalid (ZK): What is NR3C and what vision you had in your mind when you were forming it?
Ammar Jafferi (AJ): After the formation of ETO 2002, which carries two sections that is section 36 and section 37 about law enforcement in cyber space, there was a need for a corresponding lay enforcement organization in FIA.
So, I started thinking of such an organization since 2002 and was successful in establishing a small cell in FIA for creating awareness about cybercrimes. Initially there were a lot of professional problems, but having a vision about encompassing all segments of Cyber Space I had the proud honor of conceiving National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes.
The initial thought process was focused on a single point of contact in government organizations to respond to all challenges of secure use of internet in Pakistan.
ZK: How is Cyber Security situation in Pakistan, by this I mean the situation on Government level and private sector?
AJ: Although there has been some improvement in overall response to cyber threats in Pakistan and initial efforts of NR3C, in creating awareness about cybercrimes and subsequent efforts of PISA has made some real impact to take cyber security not only a cause center but a business enabler by private sector organizations like telcos, banks and all others engaged in collection of data and information.
In government response has not been much encouraging due to two factors, first is resistance to change and second is poor economic conditions.
ZK: What is PISA and how it is contributing towards the Cyber Security being a non-governmental non-profit organization?
AJ: During 2004 I had a clear understanding that government would engage in a few things, but would not like to engage vital needs in cyber space. The most dominating part in this regard was the need for creating awareness in different parts of society to be present there professionally and to establish a platform.
So PISA was established to fulfill the rising cyber security needs. The Pakistan Information Security Association is a not-for-profit and momentous body of information security practitioners in Pakistan to employ our proficiency and knowledge to help bring success to the general public in the Information Age. It provides educational forums, publications, and peer interaction opportunities that enhance the knowledge, skill, and professional growth of its members.
ZK: PISA and UltraSpectra are doing this awareness informational event called “Cyber Secure Pakistan 2012” – (CSP ’12), what is the event all about?
AJ: Pakistan Information Security Association (PISA) in association with UltraSpectra (Pvt.) Ltd. is organizing one day international conference on the much needed topic of “Cyber Secure Pakistan”.
The seminar will be attended by more than 200 delegates from across the country. The basic purpose and motive behind this conference is to educate and aware the people of Pakistan against the ever increasing threat of “Cyber Crimes & Cyber Terrorism”.
With the increasing growth of Information Technology in Pakistan, it has become imperative to educate the masses about the misuse of internet and how it can compromise their security. From a common citizen to the vital government and industrial institutions, by digitizing all the data, it’s become easier to manage but along with that it is also getting more vulnerable against Cyber-attacks.
ZK: Whom is this event beneficial for and who should attend it?
AJ: Well, I will say everyone who connects to internet in any way should attend Cyber Secure Pakistan 2012 workshop. As we know that this event is an effort to create a general awareness about the cyber security of Pakistan aiming from individual level to big national and multinational organizations. So, a straight forward attendance includes from all professionals and individuals from information security or data security field, bloggers, CEOs and top management of Banks, Telecom sector and all the organizations dealing with data and information etc.
Another dimension of this is that Information Security is creating a number of new professions like Cyber Security Experts and whole dedicated departments within organizations. So to learn more join “Cyber Secure Pakistan 2012” workshop in Marriott Hotel Islamabad on 19th of May. You can find the information on its official website and facebook page as well. You can register yourself for the event.