Islamabad, 28 December 2023(TDI): Stepping into the dynamic world of cyberspace, Dr. Umar Saif, caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, underlined the significance of protecting Pakistan’s cyberspace under the PECA Act at the prize distribution ceremony of the Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon 2023 in Islamabad on Wednesday.
The event was organized by the National Technology Fund (Ignite), an organization of the Ministry of IT Telecom.
He further remarked that cybercrime, online buying and selling, cyberbullying, protection of online data and other services for our citizens, identification of threats, and effective action against criminals are our core responsibilities.
Strengthening Cybersecurity Framework
Dr. Umar Saif stated in his speech that we have realized the need to create a distinct organization to look after the cybersecurity issues that were previously handled by the cybersecurity wing of FIA.
Hence, we established a separate agency called the National Cybercrime Investigation Agency. The agency is equipped with all the required resources and skills that would be needed to deal with the issues effectively, he added.
He further solidified his commitment that this initiative will secure Pakistan’s cyberspace, the data of public and private institutions, business transactions, and the online activities of citizens.
The first national cyber emergency response team (National CERTS) has also been established in Pakistan, and sectoral CERTS will be formed under this organization. In simpler terms, the government of Pakistan has created infrastructure under an effective strategy against cybercrime, which is being rapidly implemented to make it fully functional.
Moreover, Dr. Umar Saif conveys his gratitude to all participants, sponsors, organizers, and those who play a crucial role in making the digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon an undeniable success. He also recognized and applauded the hard work of Team Ignite to hold training workshops and hackathons since October.
Achievements in International Cyber Competitions
Dr. Umar Saif conveyed the details as previously informed, six teams represented Pakistan at Blackhat’s Cybersecurity competition in Saudi Arabia this Year. He informed that four of them were ranked in the Top 35 teams out of 250 international teams who participated in the event. It marks a promising stride by Pakistan and ignite. He hope that we have at least one team in the Top 10 teams at next year’s Blackhat competition.
Recognizing the necessity for strong collaboration efforts, the IT Minister emphasizes the significance of a partnership between the government, private sector, and academia. The private sector assistance for cybersecurity initiative is important to strengthen our cybersecurity defence.
Mr. Asim Shehryar Hussain, CEO of IGNITE, highlighted in his welcome speech that the IT Ministry and ignite are on a dedicated mission to identify and nurture talent capable of thwarting malicious cyber attempts on our national networks.
In his remarks, the establishment of the Pakistan National Computer Emergency Response Team (NCERT) underscores our commitment to enhancing cybersecurity. The imminent institutionalization of the cyber security team make it evident that we are making efforts to improve in this field. He draws attention to the importance of creating public awareness. He stated the significant role education can play in creating a safe digital space, and we would be to make progress through cooperative efforts.
It is noteworthy that participants in the hands-on training sessions received training vouchers worth Rs 6 million, with rewards extended to the top 50 individuals. Furthermore, the top three winning teams from the last hackathon have already been granted international sponsorship.