People warned of using social media cautiously to protect themselves from punishments under PECA 2016

The additional director of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cyber Wing Sindh Faizullah Korejo has warned the masses of using social media carefully to keep themselves at arm’s length from falling prey to cyber crimes as the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016 is intact with strict punishments for the individuals found involved in the offenses.

He said that cyber crime centers had been established in various 15 cities of the country, which would be further enhanced with the passage of time in order to facilitate the people to lodge their complaints and halt the offenses taking place through computers, mobile phones and internet.

This he said while delivering his lecture as guest speaker at the awareness seminar titled “Cyber Crime: Laws & Responsibilities of Citizens” held in the Senate Hall, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah Administration Building, University of Sindh, Jamshoro here on Thursday.

Highlighting the details of various types of cyber crime, counter measures and technical details, additional director FIA cyber crime Faizullah Korejo said that there were many areas where the FIA had found social media being widely misused which he said were blasphemy, anti-state activities, money laundering, business frauds, hate speech, violence and terrorism etc.

Describing the sections, sub sections and proposed punishments under PECA 2016 act, he said that the modern thief could steal more with a computer than with a gun adding that tomorrow’s terrorist might be able to do more damage with a keyboard than a bomb.

 “A person in China could break into a bank’s electronic vault hosted on a computer in USA and transfer millions of dollars to another bank in Switzerland within minutes. All he will need is simply a laptop, computer or a cell phone”, said the additional director.

Sharing the details of cyber crimes and their categories, he said one million people were being victimized through the offense within every hour, 820 in minute and 14 within seconds adding that $274 billion were being lost through cyber crime.

Faizullah Korejo further said that internet users ranged from 10% to 16% of the overall population in Pakistan were resorted to making social networking, online banking, internet surfing, audio & video communication and online shopping.

He said that hacking, identity theft, cyber bullying, talking, financial fraud, digital piracy, computer viruses, malicious software, intellectual property rights, money laundering, electronic terrorism; extortion and vandalism were the core issues which were being done through internet.

“Actually all the physical crimes have been shifted to cyber crime and FIA’s cyber wing is following them to protect the masses. We are receiving a number of complaints everyday”, he said.

He said that computers were used as a tool or means to commit cyber crime in the country, whereas the cyber law was the law governing cyber space adding that cyber space included computers, networks, software and data storage devices.

The additional director FIA cyber wing unearthed that as per their investigation, the disgruntled employees of public and private institutions were resorted to committing cyber crimes by posting misinformation, hate speech, nude snaps and other intolerable material.

He said that as a result of cyber crime, a number of challenges had raised in the country which included loss of online business & consumer confidence in the digital economy, potential for critical infrastructure to be compromised affecting water supply, health, servces, national communication, energy, financial services & transport.

“We have also challenges of loss of personal financial resources & the subsequent emotional damage, loss of business damage, loss of business assets, costs of govt. agencies & businesses in re-establishing credit histories, accounts and identities”, said Faizullah Korejo.

He said that it was very difficult to prove the allegations wrong and it almost took a year for an individual to be cleared from the alleged insinuations.

He said another increasing pattern observed by the FIA’s cyber crime wing was the use of social media for criminal purposes which included stalking, hurling threats and defamation against other users. “The agency has also found that banned outfits have also been using social media to spread their message”, he said.

On the occasion, SU vice chancellor Prof. Dr. Fateh Muhammad Burfat in his presidential remarks said that cyber crime was rampant and it was good thing that FIA was arresting such criminals after thorough investigation on the basis of evidences.

He said that in one time, computer was used for crime and in another case, the crime against the computer was committed in the society. “I mean to say, a criminal is using computer to commit crime by doing money-laundering, while another one commits crime against the computer by hacking websites”, he said.

DIG Hyderabad Naeem Shaikh, chairman department of general history Dr. Irfan Shaikh, dean faculty of social sciences Dr. Zareen Abbasi also attended the lecture besides that of a number of faculty, officers, employees and students.