time Thursday Jul 29 2021
Web Desk

PTA to form cybersecurity agency under new policy to prevent cyber attacks

Web Desk

Illustration showing a man holding a mobile phone with a lock-screen logo — File
Illustration showing a man holding a mobile phone with a lock-screen logo — File
  • Revelations suggest Pegasus used in worldwide spying.
  • Pakistan Cybersecurity Policy approved, says PTA.
  • Only 34% of the cybercrime complaints receive a response, claims FIA.

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on Thursday announced that it would form a cybersecurity agency under the newly-approved cybersecurity policy to deal with cyber attacks.

Several major revelations regarding India's use of Israeli spyware against Prime Minister Imran Khan and others were made by the PTA during a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Defence, which met today at the Parliament House the chairmanship of Amjad Ali Khan.

The PTA officials apprised the meeting that the Pakistan Cybersecurity Policy has been approved.

“A central institution, which will be called the Cybersecurity Agency, will be established under the policy where all the concerned agencies would work together,” said the PTA officials.

PTA officials revealed that Pegasus was used to conduct secret surveillance across the world. However, Pakistan Army took immediate action after being notified about the espionage and imposed restrictions on smartphones, they added.

Responding to Members' queries, the official added that software like Pegasus use zero-day exploits in which a mobile phone can be controlled so that all communication could be copied by the hacker. He said that encrypted communication of WhatsApp and some other apps, however, cannot be decrypted.

The official further stated that Google has all the records of PTA’s cyber activity.

During the meeting, Member of National Assembly (MNA) Retd Major Tahir Sadiq remarked that it has been 13 years since the formulation of anti-cybercrime laws.

"What efforts have been made for the implementation of these laws," he inquired.

At this, the Ministry of Interior's additional secretary maintained that the Pakistani laws are not acknowledged anywhere in the world, which is a major obstacle in their implementation.

FATF makes ‘country-to-country coordination’ possible 

Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cybercrime Unit director told the meeting that earlier, the ‘country-to-country coordination’ in various affairs was impossible but the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has made it possible now.

Ministry of Interior additional secretary informed the forum that the Mutual Legal Assistance Act has been passed, which would enable Pakistan to make pacts with other countries. In addition to this, PTA has created a system to restrict data leakage.

"We have been introduced as a country possessing safe cyberspace," claimed the additional secretary.

Cybercrime Unit faces obstacles 

The FIA’s Cybercrime Unit director also talked about efforts needed to curb cybercrime and the implementation of laws against it.

According to the FIA, there are numerous pending cases, while only 34% of the complaints could be responded to despite separate complaint registering portals allocated by social media platforms.

Apart from this, the only responses received were for the complaints pertaining to child pornography, claimed the FIA’s cybercrime unit director.

Standing Committee Chairperson Khan assured the officials of offering their support and resolving all their issues.