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Experts called for effective cybersecurity governance in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Cybersecurity experts have warned that ungoverned rapid digitization in the country is a threat to important government and private organizations.

Speaking at the IRS webinar, the experts urged that the heavy reliance on the imported hardware on the other hand is increasingly compromising the security of sensitive information since Pakistan is lagging in the field of manufacturing IT types of equipment. They also called for the inclusion of cybersecurity subjects in textbooks for a better understanding of the data threats.

These were the views expressed at the webinar organized by the Institute of Regional Studies on ‘Cyber Security Threats and Pakistan’s Response’. The panel of experts included Sehrish Mujtaba, a leading cybersecurity professional, Mr. Arzak Khan, internet governance and cybersecurity expert, and Umar Sheraz, the futurist, innovative policy analyst.

The panel discussed in detail the existing capacity of Pakistan’s information technology to deal with the looming security challenges to Banking and Finance, Health and Education, National Database, Defence, and Nuclear Technology. While highlighting the emerging threats Sehrih said that the economic disruption in digital currency is going to be a huge problem in the coming days. Cyberbullying and cyber harassments are also increasing in the country at an alarming rate, she added. Shiraz told the audience that we can have better anticipation of threats by early identification and classification of problems. There is a need to develop Pakistan’s national threat perception mechanism that can serve as an early warning system, Sheraz told.

Arzak Khan was of the view Pakistani diaspora can greatly help improve cyber governance in Pakistan since many Pakistanis are working in globally renowned software organizations. Private companies do have a critical role in building strong IT infrastructure, the only need is to provide them with a conducive environment, Khan added.

While concluding the session, Imran Sardar, Research Analyst from the Institute said that the situation is alarming since Pakistan is surrounded by a hostile country, that is leading in software technology. India has launched disinformation warfare against Pakistan which the EUdisinfo Lab, a European NGO has recently exposed in its report the ‘Indian Chronicles’. Nevertheless, Pakistan has lots of potentials to cope with cyber challenges, the only need is to channelize the expertise of IT professionals working in Pakistan and abroad.

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