Cyber Security Policy on the cards

Policy will help detect, timely respond to threats against country’s digital ecosystem

Our Correspondent September 17, 2021


The government of Pakistan is all set to implement the first-ever National Cyber Security Policy 2021 by the end of June 2022 to monitor, detect, avert and timely respond to international threats against the country’s digital ecosystem.

The policy will enable the country to protect itself from cyberattacks similar to the one faced by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) a few weeks ago.

Speaking at the 13th International Information Security Conference – Infosec 2021, Federal Secretary for IT and Telecommunication Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput announced that the cabinet had approved the policy on July 27, 2021.

According to details, there will be a national-level overarching committee, which will provide governance framework for the entire country.

“We are hopeful that the national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) will be in place by the end of current financial year,” Rajput said.

The government has allocated Rs2 billion for the project in the budget.

“We have a few sector-specific CERTs such as those for financial, telecommunication and power sectors but they are acting in silos,” he said. “The national CERT will be responsible for the overall operational mechanism for integration of all CERTs into one single body.”

Besides, the government is also actively working on the Data Protection Act and the Clouds Policy in consultation with the international community.

“The Clouds Policy is expected to be rolled out in the next two to three months,” he said.

The IT secretary added that the government was targeting a growth of 75% in IT exports this year, which was ambitious and achievable, provided that investment in human resources and technology was made.

Deposit Protection Corporation Managing Director Syed Irfan Ali said that work-from-home model had created new cyber security threats around the globe.

“We do not have high security measures in place while working (online) from home on smartphones and laptops,” he said and asked the institutions to pay attention to that issue.

He cherished that the State Bank of Pakistan had implemented almost all security measures to ensure safe and secure online banking transactions by overseas Pakistanis through the Roshan Digital Account (RDA).

“We have extended the online bank account opening and operational services to the resident Pakistanis as well,” he said.

HBL Chief Operating Officer Sagheer Mufti said that ensuring cyber security was not the job of IT team as the human resources department was responsible for it.

Institute of Business Management Chief Technical Officer Dr Imran Batada said that more than 99% of cyberattacks were launched from inside the organisation rather than from outside.

Institute of Business Management President Talib Karim requested the institutions to focus on enhancing research and development (R&D) work to detect potential cyber threats and respond in a timely manner.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2021.

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