SBP mulls anti-cybercrime technology

Updated 20 Apr 2017


KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is currently studying blockchain technology solution model to be adopted by central and commercial banks, as banks the world over try to keep electronic financial transactions protected from cybercrimes, said SBP’s Executive Director-Banking Supervision Group, Inayat Hussain, on Wednesday.

With blockchain technology, contracts are embedded in digital code and stored in transparent, shared databases, where they are protected from deletion, tampering, and revision. It is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.

Mr Hussain was of the view that central banks of some countries have adopted the latest technology and experimenting new things these days. “We may adopt the blockchain system to help trades. Other banks may approach SBP and tell us if they want to use the new technology anytime,” he said. He added SBP is about to revive the role of Chief Information Officers to detect cyber crimes and threats and address them on time.

He was speaking at the 15th Innovative Diebold Nixdorf e-banking 2017 conference organised by Total Commun­ications in collaboration with Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA).

Central bank last updated payment system rules in October 2016. “Since then we have provided permission to three entities to play their role as Payment System Operators and Service Providers,” Mr Hussain remarked. Initially banks were slow towards adopting new technology, but now they are doing it as per international practices.

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, Syed Ali Raza Shah, maintained that the government would provide mobile internet services to every area of Pakistan by December 2018. “There will not be a single place left without mobile broadband by the end of 2018. Pakistan will be made 100 per cent internet provided country,” he said.

“The government has built infrastructure for IT and telecom services and addressed the supply side issues nationwide. Now the private sector is needed to create demand for the services, mobile broadband connectivity would play a critical role in boosting e-banking and e-commerce activities in the country,” said Mr Shah.

P@SHA President, Ms Jehan Ara, said the slow pace of adoption of mobile banking by people and the reduction in number of active mobile bank account holders gave a sense that either there was something wrong with the product , m-wallet, or banks were not adopting the right people as their clients for the wallet.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2017