Fighting the smokeless war-who will frame National Cyber Security Policy?

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The 21st century is seeing more countries paying attention to asymmetrical threats as a new dimension in strategic defense. Although, traditional security issues will continue into the new century but threats such as terrorism and trans-boundary crime has also attracted attention and is given focus as parts of the national strategic perspective. It is alarming that, in recent years, together with the occurrence of new information and communication technology (ICT) and the development of the internet, new threats have appeared, such as cyber-crime, cyber-terrorism, cyber espionage and cyber-conflicts, with the participation of non-state entities, and cyber war understood as confrontation between countries in the cyberspace.

Current trends in the development of threats in the cyberspace clearly indicate an increasing influence of the level of security of the cyber domain on the general security of the country. The recent development in our region has pointed to a number of new challenges and uncertainties which impact Pakistans national defense. Various forms of extremism motivated by political, religious, ethnic or other reasons pose an important challenge for the national security. They are particularly dangerous when they are connected with the use of terrorism.

The rapid evolution of information and communication technology (ICT) is escalating the pace, capability, flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness of the current networks and systems, both within the civil and military scope. Information in conjunction with communication technologies are altering the way in which people interact between themselves and with their environment. This continual and accelerated progression of the ICT has led to cyber attacks becoming more and more sophisticated and numerous, leading to a cyber space that is ever more hostile, forcing those responsible for national and cyber security.

Security, in all its dimensions and spheres, is the first responsibility of any government. The government of Pakistan should assume leadership regarding cyber security in order to make its citizens aware of the need for protecting our cyberspace. Pakistan still does not have a solid capacity allowing the efficient administration, control and management of its cyber security. Therefore, the government and policy makers are accountable for setting the agenda for securing all national security domains including cyberspace. Ideally, the government may perform the following roles:

Characterize of the role of cyberspace in achieving national development goals;

Identify, analysis and mitigation of risks to achieving national interests;

Develop cybercrime/cyber-terrorism legislation that is applicable and interoperable;

Resource national cyber-security programs and institutional capacity building;

Formulate and defend cyber-security position at regional and global forums.

In many countries, cyber-security has become a national policy priority supported by loyal and devoted leadership. They are approaching cyber-security in a holistic manner, including, economic, social, educational, technical, law-enforcement, diplomatic, military and intelligence-related aspects. A modern nation-state increasingly depends on cyberspace for its economy, public safety and defense. As a result, establishing a national policy for cyber-security is now and will continue to be an essential and critical element of the overall national security for the government. Another key aspect to bear in mind for the National Cyber Security Policy is the identification of cyber space as the new dimension of the operating environment. It will therefore be compulsory to provide our Armed Forces with cyber capabilities and human, technical and economic resources necessary for their exercise and functions.

There are certain areas of concern regarding the “National Cyber Security Act 2014” introduced in the Senate of Pakistan, for which the following recommendations are put forwarded for consideration in future reviews.

Policy makers must first educate themselves better with respect to the internet, internet and cyber security together with its role in modern society,

Government must get its own house in order and eliminate corruption and nepotism,

Government must support the necessary RandD to address issues,

Government must overcome the obstacles to realistic, timely, actionable information sharing with industry,

Policy makers must establish a program to educate citizenry about the nature of the problem and alleviation approaches,

Cyber-security policy must be risk-based, outcome-focused, practicable and globally relevant.

To finish, the development of cyber-security policy is a long-lasting dedication for the security and stability of country and its cyberspace, and government must have a voice in international arena in this critical dot.


Published in: Volume 07 Issue 06

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