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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Cyber-crimes and cyber security in Pakistan

With the increasing use of technology and online activities, the number of cybercrimes around the globe and in Pakistan is on the rise, which depicts the need to expand the number of cyber security experts in the country. There are a number of cyber laws in Pakistan, they not only deals with cyber-crimes but also with all dimensions of computer and web issues.

Cyber crimes refer to an activity done by using computers and the internet. We say that it is an unlawful act wherein a computer can be used as a tool, target or a place for crime. It also includes traditional crimes in which computers are used as a tool to enable illicit activity.

We can categorize cyber-crimes into two ways:

  • The Computer as a Target: – it is the Use of a computer to other computers. I.e. hacking, virus attacks, etc.
  • The Computer as a weapon: – It is the use of computers to commit real-world crimes. I.e. cyber terrorism, credit card fraud, etc.

Read more: 60,000 cyber crimes reported in 3 months: DG FIA

Another categorization of cyber is done as follows;

  • Against person
  • Against property
  • Against Government

Types of Cyber-crimes:

1. Hacking

Hacking, a simple term, refers to the illegal intrusion into a computer system and/or network. It is also known as ‘Cracking’. Govt. websites are a hot target to hackers due to press coverage. Hackers enjoy the media coverage. Motives behind Hacking include greed, power, publicity, revenge, adventure, desire to access forbidden information etc.

2. Virus Dissemination

Malicious software that attaches itself to the other software. E.g. Viruses, worms, Trojan horses, web jacking, E-mail bombing etc.

3. Computer vandalism

Damaging or destroying data instead of stealing it or misusing them is called cyber vandalism. These are the programs that attach themselves with another file and circulate.

4. Software piracy

Theft of software using some illegal means for copying the genuine programs or the counterfeiting and distribution of products intended to pass for the original.

5. Cyber terrorism

Terrorist attacks on the internet is by a distributed denial of service attacks, hate websites and hate emails, attacks on service networks etc.

6. Adult contents on web/ child abuse

The internet is highly abused to reach and abuse children sexually, worldwide. As more homes have excess internet, more children would be using the internet and more are chances to fall victim to the aggression of pedophiles. They use false identities to reach children and abuse them.

Read more: Pakistani man jailed for blasphemy under cyber crime laws for the first time

Cyber-laws in World

Following are a few laws that are imposed all over the world against cyber-crimes;

  • Electronic Commerce Act(Ireland)
  • Electronic Transaction Act(UK, USA, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand)
  • Electronic Transactions Ordinance(Hong Kong)
  • Information Technology Act(India)
  • Information Communication Technology Act Draft(Bangladesh)

Cyber-Laws in Pakistan

There are a number of cyber laws in Pakistan, they not only deals with cyber-crimes but also with all dimensions of computer and web issues. Basically, some Acts had been passed by govt. of Pakistan in order to control cyber-crimes, some of them are given below;

  • Electronic Transmission ordinance 2002
  • Electronic / Cyber-crime bill 2007
  • Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016

A brief description of all the acts, sections, implementations and punishments is given below;

1. Cyber terrorism/ online recruitment or funding of terrorism

Whoever gets to, duplicates or crushes any basic data framework with an aim to make a feeling of dread, frenzy or frailty in the Government or people in general or an area of the general population or network or faction or make a feeling of dread or uncertainty in the public eye can be rebuffed with the detainment of either portrayal for a term which may reach out to 14 years or that fine which might be stretched out to 50 million rupees or with both. For Example You gain access to the back-end system of a TV channel and start broadcasting a message that may create panic.

Read more: Sharmila Faruqi slams Nadia Khan, says will report her to cybercrime

Whoever prepares or distributes data, through any data framework or gadget that invites or inspires to fund, or selects individuals for fear-based oppression or plans for psychological oppression will be rebuffed with detainment for a term which may stretch out to seven years or with fine or with both. For example; you run Facebook groups or admin pages and urge individuals to support TTP, or you run a Whatsapp group and plan a terror attack.

2. Electronic fraud

Whoever with the expectation for illegitimate addition meddles with or utilizes any data framework, gadget or information or instigates any individual to go into a relationship or cheats any individual, which act or exclusion is probably going to make harm or mischief that individual or some other individual will be rebuffed with detainment for a term which may reach out to two years or with fine which may stretch out to ten million rupees or with both. For example; you get into a relationship with someone with the intent to cause financial damage.

3. Making / Spreading Explicit Images or Videos of an Individual/ child

Whoever deliberately and openly exhibits or displays or transmits any data which,

  • Superimposes a photo of the substance of a characteristic individual over any explicitly expressed picture or video
  • Incorporates a photo or a video of a characteristic individual in explicitly unequivocal lead
  • Threatens a characteristic individual with any sexual demonstration, or any explicitly unequivocal picture or video of a characteristic individual
  • Develops, lures or actuates a characteristic individual to take part in an explicitly unequivocal act,

Using a data framework to hurt a characteristic individual or his notoriety or to deliver retribution, or to make disdain or to coerce, will be rebuffed with detainment for a term which may reach out to five years or with a line that may stretch out to five million rupees or with both. For example; You Photoshop an Image of an individual in a way that face is utilized close by a bare body or you make an explicit video or pictures of somebody in private

Or you communicate/post such video or pictures on Facebook or through some other medium, (like, Whatsapp). You utilize any explicit video to extort/ blackmail somebody.

4. Hacking/ Malicious Codes/ Unauthorized access to an information system or data

If somebody screens an individual through mail, instant message or some other type of electronic correspondence then you can be imprisoned for as long as three years and a fine of Rs. 1 Million or both. Whoever composes, offers, makes accessible, disperses or transmits noxious code with the aim to make hurt any data framework or information bringing about the defilement, pulverization, modification concealment, burglary, or loss of the data framework or information will be rebuffed with detainment for a term which may stretch out to two years or with fine which may reach out to one million rupees or with both.

For example; you hack someone with the intent of a relationship that you are in or may make and then monitor the email. You write a virus, develop a mobile app to spy on someone, develop an app to spread a virus, DDoS attack someone, and write a code that can be used to destroy a hard drive.

  • Access to the information system means: gaining access, control, or ability to use any part or all of a system which could be a laptop, mobile phone, tablet or any other type of computer system
  • Access to data: obtain access, control, or capacity to use any data or traffic data, that is, an email, SMS, fax, print or any type of computer data.

Cyber security

It involves the protection of sensitive personal and business information through prevention, intervention, detection and response to different online attacks. Simply, it is actually preventing the cyber-attack.

Privacy policy

A privacy policy is an authoritative record that details how a site accumulates, stores, offers, and sells information about its guests. This information ordinarily includes things like, a client’s name, address, birthday, conjugal status, therapeutic history, and buyer conduct.

Read more: Covid-19 breeds cybercrimes

Before submitting your username, email, address or any personal identity on a website, we should first look for the site’s privacy policy.

Keep the software updated

If a seller reduces patches for a software operating system device, install them as soon as possible. Installing them will reduce the chances for attackers from taking any advantage. Usage of good & strong passwords containing different types of combinations. Never use options that allow you to use a computer to save or remember your passwords.

Disabled remote connectivity

Some devices like mobile phones and PDA’s are equipped with wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, that can be connected to other devices and computers. These features are also a source of threat.  These features should be disabled when not in use.

Other safety tips

  • Use antivirus software.
  • Insert firewalls and pop-up blockers.
  • Uninstall unnecessary software.
  • Maintain backup.
  • Check the security


The writer is currently an Intern at the Ministry of Defense, Islamabad. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space