The taxpayer’s data of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is secure and was not compromised during the cyber attack on the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) website, but front end functionalities have been affected, which would be restored in the next 24-48 hours, it was learnt on Sunday.
Till Sunday night, the FBR’s official website continued to remain inaccessible including the customs computerized clearance system.
Sources aware of the developments at the FBR told Business Recorder that no taxpayer’s data has been compromised.
However, most of the front end functionalities have been affected, which would be corrected in the next 1-2 days.
However, no taxpayer’s data data has gone into the hands of the hackers.
They said that some of the anomalies have already been fixed and the remaining would be corrected in the next one or two days.
“The data is safe and things would be normal in 1-2 days,” sources added.
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When asked whether the taxpayer’s data is on sale by the hackers for US$25,000 to US$30,000, they dispelled the impression saying that there is nothing like that.
To a query on damage caused to the taxpayer’s data during the cyber attack, sources said that the damage was caused to the functioning of the website, but not the data.
About the access of FBR’s data bank to the hackers, sources said that no such thing has happened.
Business Recorder repeatedly contacted the FBR’s spokesman for comments, but was unable to get the official version of the Board.
Meanwhile, FBR Chairman Asim Ahmad, Sunday, held an emergency meeting with the IT team at the FBR Headquarters to deal with the issue of cyber attack on the FBR official website closed since Saturday (August 15).
The meeting was held Sunday evening at the FBR chairman’s office, which was attended by the FBR Member Information Technology and other officials of the IT/PRAL to review the overall situation.
According to the sources, so far, the FBR has not approached the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) or the National Information Technology Board, but the most appropriate department to deal with the cyber security is the National Center for Cyber Security.
Till Sunday late night, the FBR’s all websites including official website, return-filing “IRIS”, FBR-Taxray, E-payment, sales tax refund status, Tax-Assan, e-registration and customs clearance WEBOC remained non-functional. As a precautionary measure, the FBR has closed some servers to prevent further damage to the systems. The FBR’s IT team including officials of Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) remained busy on Sunday for restoration of the FBR’s systems, but it would take days to restore the system. The FBR is also equipped with the backup servers which might be used to start some systems on Monday.
Due to the closure of the FBR’s website, the taxpayers are unable to file income tax returns, withholding statements, and monthly sales tax returns.
The filing date for monthly sales tax returns has already been extended by the FBR.
However, the taxpayers cannot access the Active Taxpayers’ List on the FBR’s official website till date.
On Sunday, the FBR has issued a clarification regarding disturbance in Customs Operations due to up gradation of the FBR Data Center.
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The FBR has clarified that Customs operations have remained fully operational, throughout this week. Goods Declaration (GD) filing in WeBOC for export has remained fully operational, however due to slight glitch in Active Taxpayer List (ATL) module, import GDs filing was temporarily affected where ATL data was required as input in the WeBOC system, which was restored on priority. Goods Declaration (GD) for imports is being filed smoothly since yesterday afternoon. Daily GD filing (import as well as export) for the last three years on 14th August are 310 in year 2019, in year 2020, it was 1148 and last day on 14th August, it was 1901. Moreover, import GD filings for the last two days are 198 on 14th August and 86 today till noon, the FBR added.
The FBR on August 14 issued a clarification regarding in-progress service optimization activities at the FBR House Data Center Islamabad. The FBR has explained that the technical team is currently migrating services. The completion of this migration shall result in the increased overall productivity of FBR IT Operations. This migration is necessary to facilitate the up gradation of the system in order to enhance the best services to our clients.
The stakeholders, who are being provided services from the data center, are informed that there were unforeseen anomalies during the migration process, which has resulted in the unavailability of services, since early hours of last night. The FBR team is ensuring restoration of services as soon as possible to keep the downtime to a minimum. This activity is expected to be completed in the next 48 hours.
The FBR regrets and apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciates continued cooperation of the stakeholders, the FBR added.