PTA to Conduct Risk Scanning of Telecom Sector to Avoid Cyber Attacks

PTA is planning to conduct passive risk scanning of the Telecom Sector on a monthly basis, according to well-informed sources familiar with the matter.

Sources in the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) told Propakistani that the authority has conducted non-intrusive passive risk scanning activity before national days (14th August and 6th September 2022). The activity was carried out on publicly exposed infrastructure of category 1 and category 2 operators to counter any cyber incident.

According to sources, during the exercise, a total of 7 iterations of scanning were performed that improved the security posture of the top 22 telecom operators. In the future, PTA is planning to continue this activity on a monthly basis.

PTA sources say that for the past several years, attacks on Pakistan’s official websites by Indian hackers have been increasing. Indian hackers target Pakistani websites on the occasion of Pakistan’s national days to display anti-state content on them.

An official told ProPakistani that “2017-2021 Trend analysis shows a high frequency of reported hacking and defacement activity on official websites including government and ministries allegedly by Indian hackers”. These cyberattacks lead to unavailability of service as well as theft of sensitive public data, hence PTA issues periodic advisory to websites hosted commercially or self-managed, he added.

Pakistan’s telecom sector can also come under the attack of these hackers. PTA has asked all telecom operators to take necessary steps to prevent and minimize the impact of cyberattacks, espionage, and sabotage. Also, the regulator will conduct non-intrusive passive risk scanning activity on a periodic basis to counter these types of attacks.