Islamabad: The Pakistan Economy Watch said on Saturday said global financial turmoil has boosted Internet underworld and unleashed a new wave of crimes that is engulfing the globe. The development is enhancing cost of doing business everywhere and creating new challenges to already dull economies.
“A remarkable hike in internet criminal activity and card frauds has already been noticed in Pakistan and other parts of the world.”
New task force, increased budget, awareness campaign must to combat threat
Government of Pakistan should immediately form a high-powered task force, upgrade the existing setup and launch an awareness campaign about expanding online criminal market set to hurt limping businesses, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President, Pakistan Economy Watch. “Private sector should also come forward and cooperate as it will be major looser by the end of the day,” he said.
2009 will see a record increase in identity thefts, credit and debit card frauds, network breaches, phishing, unauthorised telecom interceptions and database accesses, damaging, deletion, deterioration, alteration and suppression of critical information, misuse of devices, forgery, spam, adware, malware, Trojans, worms, viruses, frauds, threats, and online attacks, he warned.
Tens of thousands of computer engineers, experts, friendly hackers, technicians, and scientists have lost jobs in developed world due to the global crunch. Some are getting allowances that are not enough while others are left high and dry.
With such a high skill-level, backed by company’s information, the recently fired experts have become darling of cyber criminals. Internet mafia has hired many while others are operating in small groups. Some are working individually, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal adding that they pose seriously threat due to their potential to shake the whole world.
Growing e-crime wave sweeping across Pakistan
Supported by abilities of disgruntled IT employees, the underworld is now bolder and sophisticated, they will operate from west but prefer to hit east where the level of IT knowledge is alluring for them. The companies and websites offering stolen financial data have hike prices manifold due to increased demand by unemployed IT experts. Majority of such outfits are based in Russia and former Eastern Europe. Some are also operating from India.
Not a single country is fully prepared to face the menace. There will be no institution immune to online attacks during 2009. Apart from unsuspecting masses, finance, banking and credit card providers will suffer the most while the situation will prove a blessing for companies providing IT security.
Pakistan Economy Watch asked masses to avoid keeping sensitive information, bank records, financial transactions’ detail, agreements and passwords in computers. Online transactions and loading information on websites has become a risky business as around 1500 fraudulent sites are uploaded daily. Credit and debit cards should be used with extra caution.
There is growing evidence that some of the staff operating legitimate financial websites have compromised confidential information for petty gains. Bank data breach has become a routine. Hundreds of such stories are revolving in markets and offices of Islamabad. Other cities are no exception. “Majority of PCs and notebooks in Pakistan are infected with a hidden programmes that record and transmit your every keystroke, don’t become a victim,” warned Dr. Mughal.-Pak Economy Watch