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Making Cyberspace Safer

Making Cyberspace Safer

The intensity and sophistication of cybercrimes has significantly increased in the recent years all over the world. The developing countries, including Pakistan, have also suffered many cyber attacks, in both private and public sectors. The extent of cybercrimes includes defamation, plastic money scams, internet banking frauds, unauthorized/illegal termination of international voice, hacking of national database, emails,  and so on. To address this increasingly burning issue, the Government of Pakistan has established a cybercrime centre within the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Interior. The National Response Centre for Cyber Crime (NR3C) is headed by a Project Director and it has the jurisdiction of taking cognizance of offences committed by cybercriminals. The reasons behind cybercrimes are greed, adventure, power, revenge and publicity. This type of crime can be a serious threat to e-business and communication and banking sectors. The extensive use of pornographic websites is also a cybercrime and it is highly unfortunate as it will destroy our cultural values.

Some suggestions to combat cybercrimes

The potential cyber threat is looming large on national security and online database infrastructure of our state. The potence of this crime can be assessed by the fact that cyber policing against recurring cyber attacks on online database infrastructure of the country has become the highest priority of law-enforcement agencies. This article focuses on problems and challenges of cybercrimes in Pakistan, their types, actions taken so far for prevention and control of cybercrimes, and constraints in the evolution of strategic formulation of framework to curb the menace.

Types of Cybercrimes

Various classifications of cybercrimes targeted toward a person, a business or even against a government may be one of the following:

Making Cyberspace Safer

Types of Computer Security

The computer security or computer network is the main target of an unlawful act and it is the violation of cybercrime ethics and rules. The types include:

a. Unauthorized access to a computer system or a network;
b. Theft of information contained in electronic form;
c. E-mail bombing;
d. Internet time theft
e. Physically damaging a computer system;
f. Data diddling;
g. Denial of service; and
h. Virus/worm.

Following are the objectives that broadly reflect the nature of policing now required:

a. Maintaining a professional investigation capability;
b. Enhancing the investigation capability of the Police force;
c. Developing accredited computer and mobile forensic laboratories;
d. Proposing changes in cyber laws and policies;
e. Training, seminars and awareness campaigns on such crimes;
f. Liaison with other law-enforcement agencies;
g. Proper enactment of the legal framework; and
h. Improvement of the institutional infrastructure so that awareness in general public regarding cybercrimes and their reporting may be created.

Recommendations

Short-term Plan

a. Public awareness and education campaigns to promote cyber security, through print and electronic media, seminars and workshops
b. Promulgation in true spirit of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance.
c. Replacement of the outdated paraphernalia with the latest equipment.
d. Capacity-building and training of LEAs in handling cybercrime

Mid-term Plan

a. Carve out a strategy to increase and train workforce, including attracting and retaining computer security experts in the federal government.
b. Improve the process for resolution of inter-agency discords regarding interpretations of law and application of policy and authorities for cyber operations.
c. Initiate a dialogue to enhance public-private cooperation with an eye in the direction of re-organization, lineup, and providing resources to enhance their contributions.
d. Establish a tribunal for the hearing of cases involving cybercrimes. The judges appointed thereupon should also be given proper training in this regard.
e. Teach international and national cyber laws to investigating officers, judges and prosecutors.
f. Arrange for foreign training of forensic experts and computer security investigation officers.

Long-term Plan

a. Establishing international linkages for information-sharing regarding cyber security.
b. Signing of international covenants and agreements for international cooperation in combating cybercrime.
c. Developing government procurement strategies for secure and resilient hardware and software.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, it is not possible to eliminate cybercrime from the cyberspace in its entirety. However, it is quite possible to check it. Any piece of legislation might be less successful in totally eliminating cybercrime from the globe. The primary step is to make people aware of their rights and duties e.g. to report crime as a collective duty toward the society, and further making the application of the laws more stringent to curb such crimes. Developing nations like Pakistan must learn from the experiences of developed nations and leap forward to prepare against the cybercrime. In order to strengthen the overall infrastructure, the individual countries should put in collective efforts to cooperate and coordinate with each other on matters of cyber security. In this regard, international instruments such as the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cyber Crime, 2001, could prove extremely valuable in fighting this emergent type of crime at an international level.

What is a Cybercrime?

Any activity commissioned via computer, digital devices and networks used in the cyber realm, and is facilitated through the internet medium. It can include the distant theft of information belonging to an individual, government or corporate sector through criminal trespassing into unauthorized remote systems around the world. It includes from stealing millions of rupees from online bank to harassing and stalking cyber users.

CyberCrime also includes sending viruses on different systems, or posting defamation messages. Commission of cybercrime can be:

The computer as a target – attacking the computers (e.g spreading viruses, etc.)

The computer as a weapon – to commits fraud or illegal gambling.

The computer as an accessory – to store illegal or stolen information.

About National Response Centre for Cyber Crime (NR3C)

National Response Centre for CyberCrime (NR3C) – FIA is a law-enforcement agency dedicated to fight cybercrime. Inception of this Hi-Tech crime-fighting unit transpired in 2007 to identify and curb the phenomenon of technological abuse in society.

National Response Centre for Cyber Crime (NR3C) is the latest introduction to mandate of the FIA, primarily to deal with technology-based crimes in Pakistan. It is the only unit of its kind in the country and in addition to the directly received complaints, it also assists other law-enforcement agencies in their own cases.

NR3C has expertise in Digital Forensics, Technical Investigation, Information System Security Audits, Penetration Testing and Training. The unit since its inception has been involved in capacity-building of the officers of Police, Intelligence, Judiciary, Prosecutors and other Government. organizations. NR3C has also conducted a large number of seminars, workshops and training/awareness programmes for the academia, print/electronic media and lawyers. Cyber Scouts is the latest initiative of NR3C, in which, selected students of different private/public schools are trained to deal with computer emergencies and spreading awareness amongst their fellow students, teachers and parents.

Vision of NR3C-FIA

A law-enforcement agency that combats CyberCrime, provides state-of-the-art digital forensic services, enjoys the respect in the society for its integrity, professional competence, impartial attitude and serves as a role model for provincial police forces.

Mission of NR3C-FIA

To achieve excellence by promoting culture of merit, enforcing technology-based law, extending continuous professional training, ensuring effective internal accountability, encouraging use of technology and possessing an efficient feedback mechanism.

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