Mr. Ammar Jaffri is President of Pakistan Information Security Association. He sees PISA as leading Institute of Cyber Security in Pakistan. He also served as Additional Director General of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). He is leading E-Pakistan to spread awareness about Information Technology and to use it in every walk of life. We are thankful to Mr. Ammar Jaffri for sparing his precious time for this interview.
Q: Would you briefly introduce us PISA and its objectives?
AJ: PISA stands for Pakistan Information Security Association and this was established back in 2005, just for two purposes. One is to create awareness of Cyber Crimes in Pakistan & Cyber Laws as well as about the efforts of different organizations; and secondly to put all stakeholders, government, public and private sectors on one page. We also try to convert Black Hat or Grey Hat hackers into White Hat hackers.
Q: What are your goals? Have you achieved them?
AJ: Yes, the initial goals were to set the capacity building and I think that has been rightly settled because you have seen the participation of the people in Cyber Secure Pakistan Conference 2015 held from 8th to 12th April, 2015, from all over the country and world. You can easily see the involvement of the people. Some years back we had one-day conferences but now we have organized this conference as five-day event. This was annual conference and it was organized by PISA, we also arrange a conference after every three months. I think we have achieved our goals to a greater extent and we still striving to pursue our remaining goals.
Q: How a Hacker or Security Researcher may join PISA? What are the benefits?
AJ: Anybody can easily join PISA. We have our website, users can visit it, there is no fee for students but there is nominal fee for organizations. There are lots of benefits, the first one is that you get the opportunity to meet people from different institutions and organizations and you work with them, you constantly keep in touch with new work and developments take place in the area of cyber security. If you have any issue related cyber attacks then you can approach someone who can help you in this regard.
Q: What is Cyberspace and Cyber Crimes?
AJ: Cyberspace is like a market on internet where you have websites instead of shops. The concept of Cyber Crime is very simple that any crime committed in cyberspace using internet is called Cyber Crime.
Q: Why our youth tends towards Cyber Crimes? Do you think Law Enforcement Agencies are working effectively to control Cyber Crimes in Pakistan?
AJ: This is now universal rule that whenever any new technology is introduced anywhere in the world, the criminals also try to get grasp of it and they using it. You know our youth is using internet in every walk of life. If someone is in village, he is texting or using internet so the involvement of our youth is very deep and moving rapidly ahead but the problem of Law Enforcement Agencies is that it is only in big cities. FIA is in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar & Quetta but it needs to be on grassroots level. There is only one way for it that we need to build the capacity of our local Police.
Q: What is the role of a Cyber Security Specialist in an Organization?
AJ: Cyber Security Specialist performs two tasks in an organization. First of all, if there is any cyber attack, he handles it and builds the capacity of the people and tells them about cyber security. He also pre-empt various kinds of cyber attacks that can be made and builds the capacity of people there-against.
Q: What is Big Data? Is there any Research Center for it in Pakistan?
AJ: There is no Research Center of Big Data in Pakistan and we need it. Actually Big Data is that every one of us is generating data by using Wi-Fi, Internet and this is called Big Data. There is need of a very big Research Center. This will predict behavioral pattern of the people in future, even what this man will do after 6 months. Our institutes and organizations cannot handle Big Data because we still have traditional tools and we can’t work on it.
Q: How many organizations are spreading awareness about Cyber Security in Pakistan?
AJ: According to my information there are very few organizations working on Cyber Security and the biggest issue is that government must involve in this because cyber security is linked with both government and private sector.
Q: What is Encryption and why is it so important?
AJ: Encryption is a science that coverts your data into codes and only it can be accessed by anybody who has the decryption password. It is very necessary, especially, for all financial implications. There are lots of software available online for converting your sensitive data to encrypted document.
Q: How can we protect our privacy in the internet world? How to prevent from cyber attacks?
AJ: Privacy is a big challenge. When information needs to reach the right person but it reaches the wrong person, it means your privacy is breached. Now, the major issue is that when our privacy is breached, we don’t know where to go, not even lawyers and courts. There is law against cyber crimes, but people don’t know how to handle the case. If you are a victim of Cyber attack or cyber crime, you should contact FIA or call on 9911, this number is especially for Cyber Crimes.
Q: How many years have you been in FIA? What initiatives you took being in FIA against Cyber Crimes?
AJ: I have served in the FIA for 12 years. I had been instrumental in establishing National Response Center for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) in FIA. I was the head of NR3C, which was established to deal with cyber criminal. I also took many other new initiatives, including development of Integrated Border Management System, use of technology to counter property crimes and human trafficking issues.
Q: Have you ever faced any life threat situation?
AJ: Yes, number of times. I have spent my life to deal with criminals. They first of all threat those who are working against them. I have been threatened many times via written and phone calls, usually from cyber criminals to stop me registering cases against them. I have put them behind the bars and kept working against criminals.
Q: What is your message for youth?
AJ: My message for youth is that If you will not use technology in every walk of life e.g. health, education etc, you can’t do anything. If you will not use Information Community Technology (ICT) in Environment, health, education, disaster management etc, you will not get greater success. You can call it e-Village, e-District and on a large scale e-Pakistan. E-Pakistan means that whatever we are doing should be done via technology. Youth must join it.
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