Pakistan is not safe from cyber-attacks like the rest of the world, Amin Ul Haque

Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecom (MoITT), Syed Amin Ul Haque has said that there are millions of cyber-attacks every day all over the world, including 5.5 million ransomware attacks through malicious software. During the last year, such attacks almost costs USD 20 billion to international organizations. He said this while addressing the “Cyber ​​Security Hackathon” event that was held at a local hotel in Karachi on Monday. The two-day event was organized by MoITT’s attached department Ignite. Member IT, Syed Junaid Imam, CEO-Ignite Asim Shehryar, cyber security experts and large numbers of people from the IT sector attended the event.

The purpose of the “Cyber Security Hackathon” is to train and prepare cyber security experts in Pakistan under the country’s first cyber security policy issued by the MoITT. It will also test the capabilities of existing experts and train cyber security experts at the national level. These experts will prevent and respond to cyber-attacks on national and private institutions. The event was attended by 266 cyber security experts from different districts of Sindh who will undergo a special test in which they will qualify for the next stage. The successful cyber security experts will not only receive huge cash prizes but also become a part of the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) that will be formed.

In his address, Federal Minister for MoITT, Syed Amin Ul Haque said that with the increase in the use of technology and online activities around the world, various types of cybercrimes are also emerging. He said that if one looks at the international statistics, one realizes the seriousness of the cyber security situation. There are millions of cyber-attacks every day around the world, with more than 550,000 ransomware attacks per day. Last year, these cyber-attacks caused a loss of USD 20 billion worldwide. He added that there are millions of cyber-attacks happening daily in Pakistan, therefore we need to increase the number of these experts over time.

Federal Minister Syed Aminul Haq revealed that many Pakistani institutions, banks and important companies have been targeted by cyber-attacks.

It’s worth mentioning here that, a few weeks ago, the FBR website was hacked and the most important data was compromised. In June this year, Pakistan’s leading musical streaming website “Patari” was cyber-attacked and hackers released data on 257,000 users on the Dark Web. Last year, K-Electric’s system was hacked and ransom demanded. The 8.5 GB data of millions of users was posted on the dark web due to non-payment. The data of Meezan Bank, Bank Islami was hacked but the bank asked the customers to change their PIN codes immediately which minimized the loss. 

“The online taxi service “Careem”, Peshawar ATM Services, Sindh High Court, PTV Sports and many other institutions were hacked and the latest attack was on the data of the National Bank”.

IT Minister also said that such attacks show how insecure the data of our institutions and consumers is. If the institutions still do not follow the instructions of the Ministry of IT, irreparable damage can be done. How to stay safe from cyber-attacks is explained in detail in Pakistan’s first cyber security policy. Many institutions do not even have cyber security systems and experts. And experts should be deployed.

Syed Amin ul Haque said that we have to develop an integrated mechanism so that in case of any cyber-attack on any public or private institution of Pakistan, it should not only be stopped but also retaliated. Under the MoITT’s department, Ignite, this event is a link in the chain through which we not only want to create awareness among the public about cyber security, but also bring forward those creative cyber security experts from across the country whose abilities are still hidden.

Federal Minister for IT invited the students of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector in Pakistan and the youth who are planning for their bright future to come to the most important field of cyber security. He said that according to the report of the World Economic Forum, cyber security posts are ranked fourth in the world in terms of demand, meaning that every fourth post in the world is vacant for cyber security experts. He said that there is no shortage of talent in Pakistan and while it is well known that the present and the future are only for technology, why not show the essence of our capabilities in the most important and most demanding fields of technology. In this regard, the MoITT will provide all possible assistance to provide them with the necessary training.

Earlier in his welcome address Asim Shahryar Husain, CEO Ignite said that the growing importance of cyber security has placed it at number 7 among 21 future sustainable technologies with a growth projection of $270 billion by 2026. The world has already faced enormous damages because of ransom ware and cyber-attacks. Keeping in view the importance of trained human resource in cyber security, we are giving you an environment over the next 2 days to get practical skills, meet industry experts, leaders and peers to hone your skills.

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