“Data breaches cannot be ignored”, IT experts

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Stealing online information

ISLAMABAD, May 14 (APP):Information Technology (IT) experts on Monday said country’s vulnerability of personal data compromise was a matter of grave concern for public safety which cannot be ignored.
They stressed for the collective efforts by all stake holders to ensure foolproof protection to the data as the country was swiftly adopting e-trading where imperative submission of personal information was making people prone to exploitation in the hands of cyber crooks.
Talking to APP, an IT expert from Ripha International University requesting not to be named said online services like ride-hailing and online shopping like ventures have made inroad in the country after 2012. But the country was never prepared to security breaches that have recently occurred forcing the concerned quarters to come up with solid measures on war footing to ensure complete data protection, he added.
He said a user’s role in this regard was of utmost importance while using internet and he/she must be sensitized not to disclose any of personal information on social sites which may become a source of trouble for them after reaching in the hands of certain mafia.
He suggested users to adopt strong and unique passwords while using different applications which would at least provide some protection to their data.
He said companies be enforced for installation of extra data base systems and firewalls for protecting a customers’ data, which they do not ensure to save their money. European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law that reduced the ratio of cyber-attack there, must be introduced in Pakistan and relevant authorities must fulfill their responsibility in this regard.
Ayyaz Ali, an IT expert at a software house said “cyber-crooks always remain alive and vigilant to exploit any opportunity as and when arises and the information you thought is secure could be exposed” .
“Secure communication channels, user IDs and passwords, right to opinion for activists are no longer secure,” he warned.
The spokesperson of Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Saghir Anwar Watto said that Pakistan being a developing country took a daring step while introducing legislation against the cyber-crime.
He said it was on incumbent government’s credit that it has introduced Pakistan Electronic Crime Act, 2016 against cyber offences and made operational the cyber-crime wing in Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Minister Information Technology and telecommunication(MOIT) Anusha Rahman recently directed the officials of its Ministry to ensure provision of all the fundamental rights for an online user that were available to a common offline man, he informed.
A Supreme Court Lawyer and member of Pakistan Bar Council Maqsood Buttar said that the cyber-crime bill, or the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016, would be applicable to deal with online crimes or fight with terrorism in the unregulated cyberspace.
Maqsood said the authorities concerned have failed to bring a data protection law, or a privacy law to ensure lawful protection of online data and the laws introduced were not capable to meet emerging challenges.
He said there are also no set guidelines for white hacking. “These ethical hackers look at securities, loopholes in websites. “Initial few sections of cyber-crime law talks about unauthorised access and interception of data and white hacking potentially comes under that and will be criminalised. We need an entire environment that caters to our protection and unfortunately, we do not have that” ,Maqsood added.
He , however, urged the authorities concerned to introduce a watchdog in the country that should keep a check specifically on data breach as data plays a vital role in people’s lives.
It is pertinent to mention that recent episode of 14 million clients’ data breach from the systems of the Dubai-based Careem created a sense of insecurity among online services’ users across the globe.