FIA asked to probe ‘data breach of 115m mobile users’

Published April 12, 2020
Chairman of the Senate Standing Com­mittee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik directed the FIA and PTA to investigate the authenticity of the report. — AFP/File
Chairman of the Senate Standing Com­mittee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik directed the FIA and PTA to investigate the authenticity of the report. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Senate Standing Com­mittee on Interior Senator Rehman Malik has directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe reports about data breach involving sale of data of 115 million Pakistanis on darknet.

Addressing a press conference on Satu­r­day, he said there were reports suggesting that data of 115 million cellphone users from Pakistan, including details such as full name, complete address and CNIC, was up for sale online.

Mr Malik was referring to reports doing the rounds on social media which say Rewterz, a pioneer of specialised cybersecurity services in Pakistan, claims to have discovered a data dump of 115 million Pakistani mobile users that has shown up for sale on the dark web.

Terming the reports alarming, the ­senator directed the interior secretary to supervise the probe to be carried out by the FIA, Pakistan Telecom­munication Authority (PTA) and Nadra and submit a consolidated report to the Senate standing committee. He directed the IT secretary to ensure the report was submitted to the committee on time.

He directed the FIA and PTA to investigate the authenticity of the report and investigate as to how the personal data had been stolen and being sold for $2.1 ­billion online.

He asked the FIA to find out who was the source of supply for the data dump and directed the PTA to identify the service provider that leaked it.

The senator said it should be determined if Nadra played a role in the breach. He added that all the authorities responsible for releasing the national assets should be identified.

He said the culprits should be identified and investigated under the Cyber Crime Act, Official Secrets Act and also be tried under Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2020

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