FIA chief says reforms are underway to tackle local and global cybercrime challenges

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Director General (DG) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Sanaullah Abbasi said cybercrime in the age of social media involves digital forensics, audits, cybercrime investigations and a specialized unit mandated to deal.

In an interview with The News, he said that the FIA’s Cyber ​​Crime Wing (CCW) is the only specialized unit mandated to deal with cybercrime-related complaints under the Electronic Crime Prevention Act (PECA ) 2016 and the prevention of electronic crime investigations. Regulations, 2018.

The CCW has expertise in digital forensics, technical investigations, information systems security audits, and cybercrime investigations.

The head of the FIA ​​said that the organizational structure of the CCW consists of the additional DG Cybercrime, (under his command) the director administrator, the director of operations, the additional administrator of the director, the accounts of the deputy director, additional director operations and additional director areas.

Abbasi said the main functions of the CCAC include: investigating and prosecuting cybercrimes; forensic analysis of cybercrimes for the FIA ​​and other LEAs; national and international cooperation in the field of cybercrime; capacity building of the police, intelligence and justice; assist prosecutions and other government organizations in the fight against cybercrime; research and development for the prevention and investigation of cybercrimes; and raising awareness of the latest cyber threats through public awareness campaigns.

On one issue, DG Abbasi said that the legal framework for the CCW’s work on the Electronic Transactions Ordinance 2002 (ETO 2002) was the first law enacted in Pakistan to deal with cybercrime-related offenses.

ETO 2002 was promulgated to “recognize and facilitate documents, records, information, communications and transactions in electronic form, and to provide for the accreditation of certification service providers”. ETO 2002 had limits for sanctioning offenses specifically related to cybercrime. He noted that the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance 2007 (PECO, 2007) was introduced to overcome the limitations of ETO 2002.

The CEEC specified provisions relating to cybercrime and the misuse of technology, but it was repealed soon after in 2009. The Electronic Crime Prevention Act (PECA) was passed by parliament in August 2016. The 2018 Electronic Crime Prevention Investigation Rules were approved and notified in August 2018.

The FIA ​​General Manager said that CCW Zones are administrative units headed by an additional Director of (BPS-19), and each zone has a specific number of CCRCs under its domain. Currently there are six zones in CCW – Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.

In addition, Cybercrime Reporting Centers (CCRC) work under the supervision of an additional director area, each CCRC is headed by a deputy director. Each CPAB is assisted by a team of investigators, cybercrime analysts, lawyers, forensic experts and other clerical staff and each CPAB deals with matters falling under the Act within specified territorial limits. .

The CCW also includes forensic laboratories which, headquartered in Islamabad and other laboratories, are located in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.

Complaint process

DG FIA stated that the CCW has set up a dedicated helpline (1991) and a helpline to receive and deal with all complaints. Complaints to CCW can be made by email, fax, mail, online or by visiting the CCRC and CCW Headquarters Helpdesk.

Once received, the complaint may go through some or all of the following steps: complaint verification, investigation, investigation and prosecution.

On one issue, DG Abbasi said that recording and investigating crimes is linked to internet frauds and scams, in addition to responses to financial sector grievances regarding ATM skimmers, bank frauds, embezzlement, credit card fraud and online banking fraud, etc. .

He added that the handling of complaints related to defamation, harassment, threats and blackmail online through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the technical facilitation of audio and video forensic analysis in Cyberterrorism cases are the responsibility of the CCW, as is the crackdown on illegal gray traffickers. VOIP configurations, development of internal tools and applications, contribution to the development of a strategy to fight cyberterrorism over 5 years with awareness campaigns on NACTA and cybercrime.

It also organizes workshops and seminars with relevant organizations for better coordination and knowledge sharing to fight cybercrime.

Abbasi maintained that the involvement of volunteers and interns from universities in cybercrime awareness campaigns as well as research and publications, international liaison with Facebook, WhatsApp and NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) , coordination with banks, Nadra, TELCOS, PTA, BISP / The Pakistan Ehsaas Program Security and Exchange Commission (SECP) and other departments are also managed by CCW.

DG FIA said that from January 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021, the CCW recorded 63,709 verifications of which 59,338 were eliminated after verification. In addition, 11,718 inquiries were recorded, of which 7,175 were processed. In addition, 854 cases were registered of which 424 were brought before the courts and 25 convictions were pronounced.

Upon request, DG Abbasi said a total of 25 suspects have been convicted in 2021 and fines totaling Rs 10.45 million have been imposed by the courts.

In FIR No. 04/2017 of March 19, 2017, the accused Arshad Hadi was sentenced under article 21 of the PECA 2016 and sentenced to five years imprisonment and a fine of 0.3 million rupees. , under section 419 PPC for five years; imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50,000, under article 500 PPC two years imprisonment with a fine of Rs 25,000 by the court of Khalid Hussain Shahani, judge of the sessions, Karachi East, on June 10, 2021.

In FIR No. 25/2016 of October 5, 2016, under Article 21 of PECA 2016, the accused Farhan Kamrani was found guilty and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of 0.1 million. of rupees, under section 419 PPC three years. of imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50,000, and under Article 500 PPC of two years of imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50,000 by the court of Khalid Hussain Shahani, courtroom judge, Karachi East, on June 15, 2021.

Abbasi said they still face challenges. These include inadequate personnel, rapidly changing technology, upgrading of forensic laboratories, lack of effective international cooperation agreements, need for constant training and capacity building, shortage of vehicles. operational, vast territorial jurisdiction, workload, prosecution issues, data from providers social media services and ISP-MLA and data acquisition from banks, Telcos, Nadra etc.

DG Abbasi said that in view of the ever-changing dynamics of cybercrime around the world and emerging challenges internally, the FIA ​​Cyber ​​Crime Wing is undertaking a series of reforms in its structures and functions. Reforms include restructuring of headquarters, zones and circles, digitization of internal CMS (Complaints Management System) processes, community awareness, international cooperation, effective prosecutions, training and capacity building. , the introduction of key performance indicators, research and development, capacity building and a new communication environment characterized by social media.


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