Islamabad (Khyber Mail): The Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) hosted a round table discussion titled “Cyberwarfare Trends: Assessing Pakistan’s Cybersecurity Preparedness and Protective Measures.”

Distinguished speakers included Dr. Haider Abbas (DG, National Computer Emergency Response Team), Dr. Zunera Jalil (Chair, Department of Cybersecurity AU), Mr. Fahad Nabeel (Research lead at Geopolitical Insights and Lecturer NDU), and Mr. Faisal Imtiaz (CISO, NTC).

The event brought together members of think tanks, foreign ambassadors, research scholars, and corporate representatives.

Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz, President IRS, delivered the opening remarks, emphasizing the gravity of cybersecurity threats due to the borderless nature of cyberspace. He highlighted the absence of a cybersecurity culture in Pakistan and stressed the need for education and awareness to foster discussions and promote cyber hygiene in society.

Dr. Haider Abbas, in his keynote address, likened the importance of data to the significance of oil. He identified legislative, technological, and human resource shortcomings in Pakistan’s cyberspace. He underscored the nation’s technological dependency as a consumer state and raised concerns about the use of pirated software posing threats to cybersecurity. Dr. Abbas also pointed out the non-layered approach to internet connectivity and highlighted gaps in academia, including a lack of necessary skills and non-compliant teaching practices.

Dr. Abbas concluded by addressing the misuse of digital media platforms and the responsibility to realize and rectify such issues as a nation. He mentioned the National Computer Emergency Response Team’s (NCERT) commitment to fostering collaboration between academia and industry to address these gaps. Despite delays in policy-making, he expressed hope that Pakistan could catch up to global cybersecurity trends with responsible utilization of time.

Dr. Abbas emphasized that collaborative engagement among academia, industry, think tanks, and policymakers would play a pivotal role in establishing a robust cybersecurity landscape in the country.

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