The government is all set to fully implement the first ever National Cyber Security Policy 2021 by end of June 2022 to monitor, detect, protect and respond on time to the international threats against the country’s digital ecosystem. The policy would enable the country protecting against cyber attacks like the one the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) faced very recently. Dr Muhammad Sohail Rajput, Federal Secretary (IT & Telecommunication), said on Thursday the Federal Cabinet approved the policy on July 27, 2021.
The policy implementation is on the stage that there will be a national level overarching committee which will provide the governance framework for the entire country. “We are hopeful that the national CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) will be in place by the end of current financial year,” Dr Rajput said while speaking at the 13th International Information Security Conference – Infosec 2021 organized by Total Communications. The government has allocated Rs2 billion for the project in the budget. “We have some sectoral CERTs including for financial, telecommunication and power sector, but those are acting in silos,” he said.
“The national CERT will be responsible for overall operational mechanism for integration of all sectoral CERTs into one body.” Besides, the government is also actively working on Data Protection Act and Clouds Policy in consultation and collaboration with the international community. “The Clouds Policy is expected to be rolled out over the next two to three months,” Dr Rajput said. Pakistan’s IT exports grew 47 percent to $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2020-21 from $1.4 billion in the previous fiscal year 2019-20. “This year we are targeting a growth of 75 percent, which is ambitious and very much achievable as well, provided that investment in our human resources and our technology is made.” Syed Irfan Ali, Managing Director, Deposit Protection Corporation, said the work from home model has created new set of cyber security threats globally. “We don’t have the same high security measures in place while working (online) from home on smartphones and laptops like the one we do have at office,” he said and asked institutions to pay attention to this. He said the central bank has put almost all the security measures in place to make sure online banking transactions by overseas Pakistanis through Roshan Digital Account (RDA) remain safe and sound. “We have extended the online bank accounts opening and operational services to resident Pakistanis from yesterday (Wednesday) as well.” Sagheer Mufti, Chief Operating Officer, HBL, said that ensuring cyber security is not the job of IT team, but rest with the Human Resource (HR) department. Dr Imran Batada, CTO and Director IoBM – CIT, said that more than 99 percent cyber attacks are launched from inside the organization instead outside the organizations. Talib Karim, President, IoBM urged upon the institutions to do maximum research and development (R&D) to continue to detect potential cyber threats and respond them on time.