Pakistan mulls cyber security bill to keep NSA at bay

Calls for founding of National Cyber Security Council


Pakistan’s Upper House this week began debating a new bill seeking to establish a National Cyber Security Council, an agency the nation feels is needed in the wake of Edward Snowden's myriad revelations about NSA surveillance.

The Cyber Security Council Bill 2014 was presented by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Monday with the aim of creating a body to draft policy, guidelines and strategy on cyber security issues according to international best practices, in line with Pakistan Today.

As well as working to counter emerging online threats, it will also try to facilitate better communication and information-sharing between government and private sectors. To help achieve this, members of the proposed council would apparently be drawn from both sectors.

There’s very little information on the proposals on the Senate web site, but Pakistan Today has the following from Sayed:

Given the clear and present danger of threat to Pakistan’s national security related to cyber warfare, as demonstrated by revelations of intrusion into privacy and spying by overseas intelligence networks, and given the context that cyber warfare is currently being weighed actively in the region where Pakistan is located, it is imperative that Pakistan take institutional steps to combat this threat.

Pakistan’s security concerns, of course, are not limited to possible NSA spying. Hacktivists purportedly from the Islamic republic frequently trade online attacks with those from arch rival India, and occasionally further afield.

While lawmakers in Islamabad talk about “major non-traditional, non-military threats the country is facing” from the likes of the US, they should also probably focus more scrutiny on their own government.

The latest Enemies of the Internet report from Reporters Without Borders called out the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for its increasingly prolific attempts to blacklist URLs and filter web content.

YouTube is still blocked over 18 months after being taken offline in the republic after controversial video The Innocence of Muslims appeared on the site. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • China thrilled it captured already-leaked NSA cyber-weapon
    Not now with your mischief, Beijing

    China claims it has obtained malware used by the NSA to steal files, monitor and redirect network traffic, and remotely control computers to spy on foreign targets.

    The software nasty, dubbed NOPEN, is built to commandeer selected Unix and Linux systems, according to Chinese Communist Party tabloid Global Times, which today cited a report it got exclusively from China's National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center.

    Trouble is, NOPEN was among the files publicly leaked in 2016 by the Shadow Brokers. If you can recall back that far, the Shadow Brokers stole and dumped online malware developed by the NSA's Equation Group.

    Continue reading
  • Anatomy of suspected top-tier decade-hidden NSA backdoor
    Bvp47 of yore said to have used BPF to conceal comms in network traffic

    Pangu Lab has identified what it claims is a sophisticated backdoor that was used by the NSA to subvert highly targeted Linux systems around the world for more than a decade.

    The China-based computer-security outfit says it first spotted the backdoor code, or advanced persistent threat (APT), in 2013 when conducting a forensic investigation on a host in "a key domestic department" – presumably a Chinese company or government agency.

    To us it seems whoever created the code would compromise or infect a selected Linux system and then install the backdoor on it. This backdoor, which Pangu has now described, would do its best to hide from administrators and users, and covertly communicate over networks with the outside world.

    Continue reading
  • NSA: We 'don't know when or even if' a quantum computer will ever be able to break today's public-key encryption
    Then again, it would say that

    America's National Security Agency has published an FAQ about quantum cryptography, saying it does not know "when or even if" a quantum computer will ever exist to "exploit" public-key cryptography.

    In the document, titled Quantum Computing and Post-Quantum Cryptography, the NSA said it "has to produce requirements today for systems that will be used for many decades in the future." With that in mind, the agency came up with some predictions [PDF] for the near future of quantum computing and their impact on encryption.

    Is the NSA worried about the threat posed by a "cryptographically relevant quantum computer" (CRQC)? Apparently not too much.

    Continue reading
  • HPE bags $2bn HPC-as-a-service gig with the NSA
    Ten-year agreement kicks off in 2022 to help spies do spying

    Hewlett Packard Enterprise has scored a $2bn contract with the US National Security Agency to provide the cyber-spies a high-performance-computing-as-a-service via the tech biz's GreenLake platform.

    Under the deal, HPE will fully host and manage the service over a ten-year period. The HPC service is intended to allow the NSA to “harness” AI and data to create insights, the company said.

    “Implementing artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics capabilities on massive sets of data increasingly require High Performance Computing systems,” said Justin Hotard, HPE senior veep and GM of HPC and Mission Critical Computing.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022