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Indian hackers using WhatsApp to hack Pakistani users’ data: reports

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ISLAMABAD (JAN 04, 2017): According to some reports, Indian hackers are using Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s video calling feature to spy on Pakistani users.

The National Telecom and Information Technology Security Board (NTISB) has also issued an advisory warning against potential cell phone hack by Indian hackers and called for prevention of cyber espionage.

“The hackers are taking advantage and sending false emails and messages to install malicious app in the garb of enabling WhatsApp video feature,” read the advisory.

advisory

“NTISB has traced links of hackers and they originate from Mumbai, the capital city of India,” it said. “The hostile Indian agencies were now using the cyber space to target Pakistan.”

According to the report, the file or malware sent through the app can capture all data of the user’s smartphone and transfer it to the hackers.

whatsapp_hacking

In November last year, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications issued a web user advisory warning against a scam involving WhatsApp video calling.




 

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Crime

(VIDEO AND TEXT) Containing Cybercrimes: Director FIA Sindh Zone Dr. Amir Shaikh launches website!

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M. M. ALAM

KARACHI: Director FIA, Sindh Zone, Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh, while addressing a Presser here announced the launching of FIA’s Cyber Crime Circle website for Sindh.

Revealing FIA’s plans to tackle the pressing matter, he said that pendency was a serious issue in the earlier website.

The new dedicated website, according to him, has been launched to provide a window to those who did not know where to go, to receive ever-increasing complaints apropos cybercrimes/harassment and speed-up the process.

He said that the earlier service (initiated in the Hayat time) closed-down due to paucity of funds while in the new website there was no financial implication.

Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh, pointing out that only 9 to ten percent Pakistanis use internet, informed that there were 50 million broadband subscribers in the country and the number of cellular phone subscribers might be as high as over 150 million.

Director said that people had taken their fights and rivalries to virtual world and many (who get involved in the Cybercrime in fun mode) were not even aware what the implications were.

Explaining the key features and objectives  of the dedicated website Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh said that the mission of FIA’s Cyber Crime Circle in Sindh  – as part of National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) – was to ensure the enforcement of cyber laws,  to prevent cybercrimes, and investigate, detect and prosecute cyber criminals.

He pointed out that was the first time FIA was launching such a complaint reporting portal www.fiacybercrimesindh.com.pk,  where anybody from anywhere in Sindh  could report cybercrime or harassment using the online system.

Appealing that  people must not suffer in silence and should come out to report cybercrimes, Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh told that the user-friendly complaint format was in English, Urdu and Sindhi.

He said the new portal would be more useful for young girls, women and young children who are frequent victims of harassment as they do not need to physically visit FIA’s reporting center.

Amir Shaikh told that FIA would be flexible in accepting the complaints directly by victims or anybody on their behalf. The complainants will not be required to furnish an affidavit like before.

Noting that 99% people wanted their problems to be solved (e.g.: removal of objectionable pictures or videos) without going to court, Amir Shaikh said that FIA would ensure that confidentiality and privacy of victims was protected. He said that in courts too victims’ identify would be disclosed only with their consent.

Since  most of the complainants do not want to reveal their names, he said that to move or not to move the court was up to victim’s choice.

He further informed that once the complaint was launched, an automatic generated message would be delivered on the given cell phone confirming the receipt of the complaint with a reference number.

Commenting on the personnel he told that FIA was deputing well-trained staff to address the issue of cybercrimes and FIA would answer within 48 hours. In urgent cases, they would respond within a few minutes. In case the complainant expresses his discontent with the inquiry officer, the said personnel would be changed.

He told that the FIA desk officers could interact in English, Urdu and Sindhi.

Director informed that during the year 2017, FIA’s Cybercrimes Circle Sindh had received 1592 complaints pertaining to blackmailing,  harassment and defamation through social media, 307 related to financial fraud, 116 threatening calls and 186  in connection with mail hacking.

Answering to a question regarding breaching of privacy he said that the sensitive data would remain in Pakistan. It was insinuated by a journalist that Cloud-based information could one day be exposed like the Panama Leaks.

Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh told that ATM skimming was high-priority case and revealed that Chinese nationals were involved in it.

Commenting on the nabbing of two Chinese men* who were purportedly planting a skimming device on an ATM in Saddar’s Zainab Market area, Director FIA Sindh Zone, Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh held that integrity of an entire nation could not be gauged by the act of a couple of its citizens!

Answering to a query apropos grant of visas to Chinese Jails’ inmates who are employed on various CPEC projects here, he said that one could not say anything against anybody until he (or she) has committed a crime.

Dr. Amir Ahmed Shaikh went on to say that such acts of some individuals could not affect projects (like CPEC) going on Govt. to Govt. basis.

Further commenting on the crime, Dr. Amir Shaikh informed that in a recent meeting with SBP and Commercial Banks, FIA had asked them to be more alert vis-à-vis ATM skimming. Dr. Shaikh also acknowledged the support of Chinese diplomatic post here apropos nabbing the culprits.

Informing that FIA was in close contact with NGOs like PILER, Aurat Foundation and other institutes like SZABIST etc., the Director said that they would train 10-15 people from these organizations.

Conceding that most of the social media services (Facebook, Twitter etc) were based in USA the Director told that he had written a letter to the Ministry and they most likely were in negotiations with their counterparts.

Stressing that FIA could not just sit idle till any agreement was signed, he repeatedly cited an example of a medical student who – being blackmailed – wanted to commit suicide. But thanks to the effective measures taken by FIA Cybercrime Circle her agony was assuaged as a result of a patch-up between the perpetrator and the victim.

Director, addressing the culprits, sternly warned that FIA (by means of cutting-edge technology) would get them any way and they would face punishment of 3 to 14 years of imprisonment and Rs. 50,000 to Rs. five million fine.

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*According to details two Chinese men, identified as Zhang Qiaocheng and Zhong Showen, were arrested here Wednesday (10th of January) when they were in the process of stealing data of a bank’s customers at its Zainab Market’s ATM located on main Abdullah Haroon Road.

Personnel, monitoring the real-time surveillance feed, got suspicious when they noticed the accused acting in a strange way and informed the bank staff.

Later LEA personnel recovered a skimming device from the two accused who came to Pakistan on 2nd of January on business visas. Suspects, who are presently in the custody of FIA cybercrime cell, have visited the very ATM three days ago.

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Pakistan

Fallout of abortive Faizabad crackdown: TV remains off air, but savants unblocked social media using a bit of jugglery!

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MMA

KARACHI: PEMRA, while citing Clause 8 (8) of Electronic Media Code of Conduct had yesterday issued a notification prohibiting live coverage of Faizabad sit-in. 

Yesterday, most of the private channels were taken off air. Viewers trying to watch TV see PEMRA message saying that the channel was suspended on its orders.

Though Facebook, YouTube, Daily Motion, Twitter and instagram had also been blocked, many savants of the technology are using it through a bit of jugglery.

For instance, they get the  services unblocked  by placing themselves abroad in the cyber memory!

Moreover, Government is also pondering over closure of mobile phone signals

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Technology

Dubai Air Show: Sino-Pak J-F Thunder and Chinese stealth combat drones attract attention!

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MMA

DUBAI: While aerial and static display of Sino-Pak JF-Thunder attracted attention of many buyers, Chinese stealth combat drones Yunying too caused ripples at Dubai Air Show that concluded yesterday (Wednesday 16th of November).

According to details Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) – that has unveiled its 9m-long powerful aerial-photography stealth drones Yunying here at Dubai Air Show – claims these drones weighing three tons, with 17 meters in wingspan can capture images of objects on ground and destroy them.

By means of turbo engines, these could ascend higher and beyond the reach of most surface-to-air missiles.

Three types of Yunying drones:

YUNYING 1: Equipped with ultra-high-resolution long-range optic cameras as well as synthetic aperture radar, it is capable of scanning and imaging 10,000 square kilometers per hour from an altitude of 13km;

YUNYING 2: With the help of full-band radar signal sensors and cellular network sensors, these can pinpoint all surface radar and communication devices within a radius of 400km and 200km;

YUNYING 3: This highly maneuverable target drone is a combination of the previously mentioned two. It can destroy targets 50km away and can carry six anti-ship missiles Ying Ji-9E.

 

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