Pakistan and Cybercrime: A Woeful State of Affairs

It’s official. Cyber warfare has become a norm in our lives.

According to Forbes, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks have grown by 100% from 2013 to 2014. Owners of Xbox and Playstation consoles had to encounter a nasty and prolonged shutdown period in December last year, thanks to the antics of the infamous ‘Lizard Squad.’

The sad news is, it is going to grow worse, especially when you take Pakistan and its lack of resources to protect against the DDoS menace.

Once we had the never-ending computer viruses. Now it seems DDoS attacks have taken its place as the new digital boogeyman.  After all, it’s a global threat that affects everyone equally and people from government and tech industries are working to counter it. Islamabad, it appears, hasn’t realized the gravity of the situation, especially given its place in world politics.

With cyber crimes ramping up, Pakistan is woefully unprepared

In 2014 alone, many hostile nations launched DDoS attacks on governmental, defense and political websites, defacing them and leaking sensitive information of officials. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) does not have the infrastructure nor the capabilities to counter this threat. As the country’s ‘premier’ anti-cybercrime watchdog, it needs resources to help safeguard the country’s interests.

One reason why FIA and its dedicated division the National Response Center for Cyber Crime haven’t had much success tracing the whereabouts of hackers is due to the use of sophisticated, untraceable proxies by attackers. They rely on TOR, a free software that makes anonymous attacks possible and sidesteps censorship.

It’s a dismal state of affairs no doubt. We even possess minds like Rafay Baloch, one of the world’s greatest ethical hackers and a security researcher par excellence. It seems our official lethargy is to blame for not even relying on individuals such as Mr. Baloch. Even putting him in an advisory role can help move things forward.

As the country’s ‘premier’ anti-cybercrime watchdog, the FIA needs resources which it doesn’t have currently

Individuals like Mr. Baloch possess the technical knowledge and experience to get Pakistan to take the significant steps towards combating DDoS attacks. Private businesses and governmental websites both continue to be plagued by the loopholes in their online security.

A lot needs to be done because as things stand, not even a small attack of 5Gbps can be countered by our ISPs. This can lead to banking operations, call centers and BPO centers being disrupted and can harm the country’s economy significantly.

What do you think? Will the Ministry of Defense, Interior, Information Technology and other stakeholders sit together and chart out a comprehensive plan to counter this menace? Or will it be a case of us reacting after the fact? Sound off below.

via ExpressTribune

Samir is the Editor at ProPakistani. You can reach him at [email protected],pk