Pakistan government websites under severe threat of cyber attacks

Pakistan government websites under severe threat of cyber attacks

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan government websites under severe threat of cyber attacks.

The websites of the government institutions and ministries make use of inexpensive data hosting services provided by private service providers which are prone to cyber threats, revealed National Telecommunications Corporation (NTC).

Some government institutions prefer cheap private service providers for data hosting compared to the NTC which makes these websites easily hackable, revealed Managing Director NTC Brigadier Viqar Rashid Khan (retd) while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication.

The committee met with Rubina Khalid in the chair on Thursday where a briefing was given on the NTC functioning, achievements and future roadmap.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has allowed private companies to provide internet services to government institutions, which is one of the biggest cyber threats to the country. Since the Pulwama incident, 50 million attacks were reported on the NTC data system, but due to five-layer foolproof arrangements, the data remained safe.

The managing director informed the committee that procuring internet services by government institutions from private service providers is one of the biggest cyber threats. Replying to a question, the NTC official said that the NTC is charging more than private companies for data hosting, but it (NTC) is providing foolproof security which private companies lack.

The mandate of NTC is to provide telecom services to the government departments including defense forces whereas PTCL provides telecom services in the private sector as per the act.

The NTC managing director also raised questions over the submarine cables under the control of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL). He said that a submarine cable is the asset of Pakistan which is being held by the PTCL, a private company as it was taken over by Dubai-based Etisalat after privatization. Khan said that submarine cables should have been handed over to the NTC at the time of PTCL privatization.

He further said that the NTC has plans to lay marine cable along China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on the coastal highway.