Digital Pakistan Hackathon event

Securing Pakistan’s online space is crucial, says IT Minister under the PECA Act.

Caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication, Dr. Umar Saif, highlighted the paramount significance of securing Pakistan’s cyberspace under the PECA Act during the prize distribution ceremony of the Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon. The event, organized by the National Technology Fund (Ignite), a Ministry of IT Telecom organization, aimed to address cybercrime challenges and promote innovative solutions.

Dr. Saif emphasized the multifaceted responsibilities associated with safeguarding cyberspace, stating, “Cybercrime, online buying and selling, cyberbullying, protection of online data, and the identification of threats require our dedicated attention and effective action against criminals.” Acknowledging the absence of a specialized organization to combat cybercrime, he highlighted the establishment of a cybercrime wing within the FIA to address these issues.

To enhance capabilities and streamline efforts, Dr. Saif announced the creation of the National Cyber Crime Investigation Agency, equipped with the necessary tools and skills. He noted the gradual transfer of authority from the FIA Cybercrime wing to this agency, enabling more effective measures against cybercrime.

Dr. Saif underscored the potential for securing public and private institutions’ data, business transactions, and citizens’ online activities within Pakistan’s cyberspace. He revealed the establishment of the first National Cyber Emergency Response Team (National CERTS) and the formation of Sectoral CERTS under its umbrella, forming a robust infrastructure to counter cyber threats.

Expressing gratitude to participants, sponsors, and organizers, Dr. Saif acknowledged their instrumental role in the success of the Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon. He commended Team IGNITE for organizing training workshops and hackathons, emphasizing their pivotal role in fostering innovation and collaboration in the dynamic field of cybersecurity.

Highlighting Pakistan’s representation at Blackhat’s cybersecurity competition in Saudi Arabia, Dr. Saif recognized the achievement of six Pakistani teams, with four ranking in the top 35 out of 250 international teams. He deemed this a positive step and expressed hope for at least one Pakistani team to secure a position in the top 10 at the next year’s Blackhat competition.

Dr. Saif concluded by stressing the importance of robust collaboration between the government, private sector, and academia to address the evolving nature of cyber threats effectively. The government’s strategic initiatives, including the PECA Act and the establishment of dedicated agencies, reflect a comprehensive approach to bolstering cybersecurity in Pakistan.

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