Govt Figures Out How to Avoid Cyberattacks During Cabinet Meetings

The government has decided not to use the internet directly but through the intranet to avoid cyberattacks during cabinet meetings.

This was revealed to the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication which met with Kauda Babar in the chair on Thursday.

The federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Amin Ul Haq, briefed the committee and mentioned that the National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) has already moved a summary in this regard. He added that the intranet will be used during meetings of the Cabinet and that there is a backup in place to make them more secure.

His ministry admitted to the committee that there had been a minor attack and there is also no mechanism in Pakistan to prevent them.

A major cyberattack was reportedly made on the websites of the government, as confirmed by the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT). It was found to have been IP-based, created through a robotic engine, and the existing firewall does not prevent mild and low-grade attacks. However, no data theft was reported.

The MoITT informed the committee that the cyberattack attempt on its NTC system had been foiled. Minister Haque said that there are websites of various departments on the NTC server and the attack had taken place at 11:38 AM on Tuesday. The attack had failed because of a comprehensive cyber security system, he remarked and added that it had resulted in the automatic suspension of the websites of some departments. However, all the websites were activated in just three hours, he said.

The cyberattack was not on the data center but on the networking side, the minister clarified.

The parliamentary panel was informed that a committee was formed under Additional Secretary MoITT, Aisha Humera, to determine the causes of the cyber attacks and how to prevent them.

The Terms of Reference of the committee included how and why the attack was made, who was responsible for it, and the way forward. The committee will present its report on the matter within 14 days.