11th Infosec 2019 – International Conference

Karachi, July 04, 2019: Pakistan needs to get prepared to timely respond to cybersecurity attacks, especially in the financial sector, as the event of a security breach may ramp up with the surge in use of banking services under the aggressive campaign for financial inclusion in the country. 

“Ninety-one per cent cybersecurity breaches took place in the financial sector in Pakistan because attackers know where the money lies,” Dr Farrukh Iqbal, Executive Director, Institute of Business Administration (IBA) quoted an IT expert while speaking at the eleventh conference on International Information Security 2019 held at a local hotel on Wednesday. 

The one-day conference was organized by Total Communications in collaboration with IBA. 

Imran Batada, Director ICT & CICT, IBA opened the conference by recalling that the last year – 2018 – appeared to be a different year for Pakistan in which a bank faced cyber attack in which it lost millions of rupees. 

Noman Abdul Qadir, MEA Business Executive, Security Channels, IBM, said that Pakistan, especially the financial sector, needs to prepare to timely respond to the increasing events of cybersecurity breaches. 

“Institution should not feel ashamed of facing cyber attacks, but they need to accept at first that they lack measures to tackle such attacks and prepare to timely respond as data breach events would take place in the fast-changing IT-driven world,” he said. 

He said institutions, especially the educational ones, need to invest in youngsters to enable them understanding cybersecurity issues and let them learn how to tackle them as they are the future of the country in the rapidly growing IT-driven world. 

He urged to establish a national level policy forum which should have all the stakeholders on the board. Stakeholders, who should meet at least once in a month, must share their new experiences about emerging cybersecurity related issues and how they are tackling them. “Shareholders must exchange the information to protect the future,” he said. 

Hussein Hassanali, GM, Head-IT Audit, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) said that Pakistan faced three per cent of the total targeted cyber attacks took place globally last year. 

The United States, which is the centre of the capitalists’ world, recorded the highest number of the targeted cybersecurity breaches of about 38 per cent of the total attacks took place globally last year. 

He urged institutions to create three basic lines of defence to remain protected from cyber attack, including deploying a foolproof IT system, build guidelines and making sure that they are compliant, and conducting an audit of IT system and reviewing guidelines from time to time. 

Asif Meenai, GM IT – CISO, HBL, said the incidents of cybersecurity breaches have increased by 11% to 145 in 2018 against 130 occurred in 2017 globally despite institutions increased deployment of IT infrastructure and took anti-breach measures. “The incidents of data breach have increased by (an average) 67 per cent in the last five years,” he said. 

Ammar Jaffri, Director General Center of Information Technology (CIT) said ICT would change the way we live. The robot would take over the world. Humans could not drive cars in 2025. The time is not far when people will be experiencing 5G in the country. 

He said three things would shape the future of the world; blockchain as the platform to perform tasks, Internet of Things (IoT) as hardware and Artificial Intelligence (AI) as software. 

The one-day conference also held three-panel discussions on responding and monitoring dark web markets, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, and digital forensics and incident response. 

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