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Increasing cybercrimes in Pakistan

"In recent years, cybercrime has increased by 83% along with financial frauds at the top. In 2020, the Federal Investigation Agency seized around 30 gateways involved in grey trafficking"

Any crime done with the help of a computer and a network is known as cybercrime. These days, cybercrimes are increasing with every single day in our country. The hackers can get all of your vital information and data within minutes. The crime can seriously damage someone’s financial health and security as well. It is always advised not to share your personal information, including your account details, passwords, and card details to avoid any such incidents. Businessmen all over the globe describe cybercrime as a major problem and threat to mankind and poses risks to humanity. Pakistan is not that advanced and people here easily trust others and share their information. Also, it has immensely increased over the course of 10 to 12 years. But sadly, despite being an atomic country, we have no digital forensic and data experts. Moreover, lack of latest system and equipment is one of the reasons why we are unable to catch any criminals. Before, we did not have any legislation until the arrival of PECA (Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act) 2016. Still, there are not as such rules & regulations and laws through which we can file a complaint against these hackers and criminals.

In the recent three years, cybercrime has increased by 83% along with the financial frauds at the top. In 2020, the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) seized around 30 gateways involved in grey trafficking. According to the stats, financial frauds, fake profiles, harassments, hacking, and defamation are the fastest increasing cybercrimes in the country. Email, WhatsApp, and Facebook are the most frequently used means in cybercrimes. Also, around 104 fraudulent transactions, mainly in Ehsaas Programme were detected by the agency. The cities, namely Islamabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan, and Gujranwala, witnessed most cases. In recent times, the structures of the government have been introduced to social platforms. The government should make some efforts to teach the young generation regarding the positive use of the net. Children have easy access to social media and cell phones and sometimes they get attracted to what they see in movies and games. Consequently, some of them become criminals while others decide to do online crimes. In that way, the internet has damaged our young ones, and culture.

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May be, the complaints have increased because people are now more aware regarding these crimes. It is possible that cybercrimes might be happening earlier but not being registered or reported. Lack of sources is a factor in the overall growth rate of crime in the country. With a total of 62,357 complaints, Facebook remained at top during 2018 to 2021. Other mediums include WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and other social media platforms. Usually, the staff in the agencies does not take complaints seriously due to which, most people hesitate to go their office. A number of women are reported to have been told by the agencies officials that threats made to them and blackmailing are not serious enough crimes.

There is a major issue with the officers’ investigating cybercrimes; they lack cooperation with the courts. In a number of cases, the investigating staff does not show up in court rooms and the evidences of cases have been lost. Such excessive delays put a question mark on our so-called agencies and it needs to be addressed. Another major issue is the lack of forensic laboratories. In the entire country, there is a just a couple of them. There is a dire need of discipline and resources to deal with the influx of cases. Social media companies do not cooperate in the investigations due to lack of policy level engagement by our government. The issues related to these companies need international participation. So, Pakistan should have a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US and all these companies so that the agencies and courts face no major problems while solving a case.

Bank and online transaction frauds are at their peak these days. Anybody can call you, portray themselves to be in the management of that bank and can deprive you of all of your savings. Moreover, people need to avoid accepting any random friend request from unknown people as it might be possible, they are approaching you for theft. Nobody should be allowed to get your personal information or any relevant data through which they can access your accounts or debit/credit cards. One should have enough awareness not to tell anyone any of your ID and password. After every month, people get messages and emails from their banks that the bank will not call you for asking any of your details. Still, every day, a number of users and account holders become victims. The government of Pakistan should make laws and regulations to stop cybercrimes so that people can save their lifetime earnings.

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