In Wake Of Leaks, Centre Issues 'Dark Web Advisory' To Ministries, Provinces

In Wake Of Leaks, Centre Issues 'Dark Web Advisory' To Ministries, Provinces
The federal government has issued a cybersecurity advisory for its ministries and the provincial authorities with an aim to prevent data leaks via the 'dark web'.

The advisory, titled 'Leakage of Sensitive Data on Dark Web', noted that the anonymity on the dark web makes it a "gateway to the world of crime", and constitutes for 96 percent of the data available online.

It noted that dark/deep web is being used by nefarious mindsets, including criminals, terrorists, Hostile Intelligence Agencies (HIAs) and non-state actors.

"Users are advised to put in efforts to protect personal and official data from being exposed to cybercriminals and further leakage on hacking forums/dark web,” the communiqué said.

The dark web is a part of the online world beyond the reach of search engines. Users of this internet are largely anonymous and untraceable, with the main currency being cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

Multiple audio leaks have surfaced in recent weeks that made headlines. These leaks uncovered discussions that took place in the Prime Minister’s Office on policy issues involving the cabinet and other top government officials.

Open Source Intelligence Insider (@OSINT Insider on Twitter) claims that the audio files that have been made public are a collection of discussions that lasted 140 hours and included 100 8 GB files. The full collection of recordings, which have been on sale since August 20th, demanded $3.45 million. Additionally, according to @OSINT Insider, the phone calls made from the PM House were not secure.

This raises a lot of questions. Foreign dignitaries visiting Pakistan would be hesitant to talk at the PM House? They will pause before saying anything delicate. They will ask themselves a hundred times whether these conversations are being recorded.

The country’s highest executive office has been “spied upon” in a “severe breach of cyber security.”

Despite established procedures, intelligence agencies are unaware of how the PM House has been bugged for months.

Pakistan has taken many steps to compete with other nations in the digital arena, but problems with governance, data privacy, and cybersecurity have slowed down its progress. The Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) placed Pakistan 94th overall and 18th out of 38 Asia-Pacific nations, trailing Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India, according to the report “Transforming Digital Government in Pakistan”.