ISLAMABAD: Cybercrime is the second largest category of crimes committed across the globe – second to theft of assets – but software companies and other industries are in denial about cybersecurity, said Pakistan Cybersecurity Association Chairman Nahil Mahmood said on Saturday.

Speaking at the Pakistan Software Quality Conference 2017, Mr Mahmood said cybersecurity requires five times more funding to address issues once software security has been breached.

The conference was organised by the Pakistan Software Testing Board, and aimed to highlight the importance of software quality engineering in Pakistan.

Although the software industry has grown rapidly over the years, quality has received little attention. Companies build software that often does not comply with established international quality standards, and as a result Pakistan’s industry is unable to compete internationally.

Mr Mahmood said software quality depends on security. He said cybercrime as an industry is worth $3 trillion, and is larger than the drug business.

“With the passage of time things are changing and everything is moving onto smart phones as people travel frequently. There are also many examples of websites that have been hacked,” he said.

“Although cybersecurity is very important, Pakistan has one of the poorest rankings. The United States, Canada and Australia are the top three countries in terms of cybersecurity. Pakistan is ranked among Malawi and Senegal – even Iran and Vietnam are ranked better than us. India is ranked at the top of the list in South Asia,” he said.

He added: “Pakistan is doing nothing in the cybersecurity field. Our organisational capacity building is zero. The industry is in a state of denial about cybersecurity.”

He suggested introducing university level educational courses on cybersecurity.

In a lecture on the quality videogames, professor and Quest Lab director Mohammad Uzair Khan said the videogame industry is worth $100 billion, and the market is highly competitive.

He said testers play games more seriously than users, because they know millions of people will play these games and companies will continue to upgrade them to keep users interested.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2017