National cyber security policy

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IN what could be called an important and much needed step, the Federal Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan approved the first ever National Cyber Security Policy.

Though the very contours of the policy was not shared by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain while briefing the media about cabinet decisions, yet we understand it will be comprehensive enough to tackle the threats faced by the country on the cyber front.

With the growth and spread of connected digital technologies, cyber threats have become an inescapable reality.

According to the World Economic Global Risk Report 2019, massive data fraud and theft were ranked the number four global risk in terms of likelihood with cyber-attacks at number five.

Critical infrastructure systems related to cyber security, being the lifeline of the modern world, hold paramount importance for both national and economic security as their reliable and secure operation is crucial for the smooth working of a state.

Recognizing it as a global and national security concern, all modern states undertake emergency measures to consolidate their cyber security

As regards Pakistan, the situation is far alarming since it is surrounded by a hostile country that is leading in software technology.

As part of hybrid war, India has launched disinformation warfare against Pakistan which the EU Disinfo Lab, a European NGO, exposed in its recent report.

Then most recently the reports also emerged that India tried to hack the phone of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

While this issue should be investigated in its totality and findings be shared with the world community for action against New Delhi, we must accelerate efforts and build the necessary infrastructure and manpower to counter cyber threats.

We need to develop the capacity of different institutions to protect our data and neutralize any possible cyber incursion.

We will suggest that a separate Cyber Security Agency be formed to ensure collaboration between the government, military and intelligence stakeholders.

This body should also be entrusted the responsibility to conduct a cyber-risk assessment of critical infrastructures and establish protection levels.

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