Lahore: Awareness campaign urged against cyber crime 1

MKRMS seminar speakers call for new degree courses on computer forensic
Speakers at a seminar on “What is Computer Forensic?” stressed the need for launching a campaign to create awareness among the people about cyber crimes besides introducing new degree courses on computer forensic at college and university level to make database and online transactions safe and protected.

The seminar was organised by the Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Memorial Society (MKRMS) (Jang Group of Newspapers) in collaboration with the University of Central Punjab (Punjab Group of Colleges) at a local hotel on Thursday.

It was the first seminar of its kind on the computer forensic in Pakistan in which a large number of intellectuals, IT experts and heads of different educational and banking sectors were invited to explore ways to curb cyber crime.

The University of Central Punjab announced a four-year degree programme on computer forensics to be started in October this year.

Prof Engineer Ajmal Hussain, associate dean of Information Technology, University of Central Punjab, in his welcome address, said that Pakistan was moving ahead in the use of computer technology as every system in banks, institutions, stock exchanges and business centres was being computerised but it was necessary to take effective measures to secure and control this system to avoid any cyber crime, which could cause huge loss to the state, banking sector and other individuals.

Prof Ajmal, while mentioning the discredit of two Pakistani brothers in the world of cyber crime who had introduced a virus, contended that Pakistanis could positively bring about a revolution in curbing cyber crime by producing specialists in computer forensics.

He said as the land records, NADRA, and banking sector had been computerised, there was a need to secure its systems from infiltration which had become easy nowadays. He said the FIA and Intelligence Bureau (IB) were working to counter cyber crime but there was a need of specialists who could save the data and also trace out heinous crimes like hacking, deleting and online fraudulent transactions being committed in Pakistan. Ajmal Hussain also attracted the attention of students saying that computer forensics had a wide scope in the future and it was a heavily paid field.

Information Technology Provincial Secretary Shumail Ahmad Khawja, while giving a presentation on “What is Computer Forensic?”, said that conversion of technologies on computer was a blessing in many spheres of life but it had also a number of pitfalls, especially related to its security. He said that computer forensic (CF) was an art and a science which emerged after micro-computer revolution and infringement of law enforcing agencies worldwide. He said that computer forensic was a science which was used for preserving, retrieving and presenting data related to computer system while cyber crime was being committed in firewall, database and digital systems.

The secretary said that the awareness about the CF would directly benefit the government, law enforcing agencies and individuals by saving them from huge loss. He said the government of Pakistan had promulgated different ordinances and acts to prosecute the cyber crime in the country. He claimed that the government of Punjab was extending its resources to FIA working to control cyber crime. Shumail Khawja also hinted at the irrational condition of 10 years of experience for the position of a CF expert in Pakistan which should be revised.

Dr Shahid Mehmood, dean of Management Sciences, University of Central Punjab, said there was a need to act upon three-point agenda to bring change in the CF. The three-point agenda is: first, to create good connectivity between school and society, second, to think ahead to cater the challenges of cyber crime, and third, to shape the mind of pupils for their bright future.

He said the University of Central Punjab (UCP) had taken step to educate the new generation about cyber crime and CF by announcing the launch of a four-year degree programme from this year. Dr Shahid also emphasised on holding meetings regularly between the heads of different departments and IT experts to keep them updated about the cyber crimes and make them aware of measures which could be taken to save their computerised systems from any heavy losses.

Dr Fauzia Rehman, vice president of FOZANS International, US, said that Pakistan was lagging behind in the science of the CF but organising such forums was appreciable. She said CF was an important science to put barrier on illegal use of computerised systems, which could also save important crime-related reports like on fingerprints, DNA toxicology from tampering. She contended that the basic objective of the CF was to get successful results from devices through protective and secured way.

Attique Ahmad Ch (head of IT, WAPDA) while addressing the audience especially students said that cyber crime and CF was a vast field which was heavily paid and it had big scope in Pakistan in the future. He said that proactive policy should be used to control cyber crime. The types of controls, he said, are preventive, detective, corrective, deterrent, recovery and compensating.

Ch. Sarfraz from the FIA said the government had hired a staff of 170 skilled people in three zones of Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi and it had brought about a remarkable improvement in countering the cyber crime. He said that two hubs of cyber crime in Bahawalpur and Karachi had been busted which were working internationally in pornography and other cyber crimes while around 63 cases were also detected. He said the FIA would also organise several lectures at colleges and universities to create awareness about cyber crime and CF. Muhammad Gulzar, IS security consultant, Al-Rajai Bank Saudi Arabia, Syed Anwar-ul-Haq Jillani, former deputy director commissioner, Income Tax, and Waqar Ahmad, vice president of training, Askari Bank, also expressed their views.

Later, MKRMS Chairman Wasif Nagi thanked the guests of honour and said that the MKRMS had been working since 1992 to make the masses aware of important issues. He said that the MKRMS had organised so far around 500 seminars on different topics.
Source: The News, 1/8/2008

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