Finance Minister of Pakistan Shaukat Tarin has revealed shocking news. According to the minister, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) portals were subjected to 71,000 phishing attacks each month. Over a couple of years, the volume of cyberattacks rose sharply as methods available to the hackers have become more complex. The minister unveiled this news while replying to a question from PPP MNA Raza Rabani Khar during a session of the national assembly. It was the first comprehensive reply from the finance minister regarding the protection of the data of taxpayers.
Minister Reveals About 71000 Cyberattacks Made on FBR Portals Every Month
Furthermore, the minister told that the FBR had been authorized to obtain cyber and information security-related hardware, software, and services to safeguard the organization from future phishing attempts.
In a written response, the minister said during the last three years (Feb 18, 2019 to Feb 22, 2020; March 23, 2021; April 13, 2021 to August 19, 2021), FBR’s systems were breached three times with a success rate of 0.001pc.
According to the minister,
The breach in 2019 was not detected till the investigation into the latest breach in August 2021. The breach was minor in nature and the infrastructure hosting the FBR website was hardened. Therefore, a cyber breach-related audit was not carried out to date.
In addition to that, the Finance minister also called for an annual budget for technology refresh. In case of an investigation, Mr. Tarin told that there was an ongoing probe into the current breach with the assistance of a third party. This third party is helping in scanning the entire FBR network, which includes all machines located in the field formations, to determine the possible point of the first breach.
According to the minister, once this has been resolved and remedial actions have been taken, a full third-party security audit will be launched to determine any remaining vulnerabilities. Moreover, a full action plan to counter those weaknesses will be put together and its execution will be examined. While giving the conclusive remarks, the minister said,
Therefore, a cyber breach-related audit was not carried out to date. Technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed and requires constant reinvestment.