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Saturday April 13, 2024

Pak power sector operations faced 40m cyber threats in a year

USAID Mission Director in Pakistan Kate Somwongsiri presented the cyber security system to Dr Kashif Shahzad

By Asif Mehmood Butt
March 22, 2024
Power supply has been fully restored across the country. — Twitter/@MoWP15
Power supply has been fully restored across the country. — Twitter/@MoWP15

LAHORE: The security systems provided by the United States prevented 39.5 million out of 40 million cyber threats to Pakistan’s power sector operations in a year.

This disclosure was made by Dr Kashif Shehzad, CEO of Power Information Technology Company (PITC), a subsidiary of the Ministry of Power. He was speaking at the handing over ceremony of US$1.2 million cyber security system to Pakistani authorities under Power Sector Improvement Activity Programme.

USAID Mission Director in Pakistan Kate Somwongsiri presented the cyber security system to Dr Kashif Shahzad. US Consul General Kristen Hawkins in Lahore was also present.

Dr Shehzad said the countries from which Pakistan’s power sector operations faced cyber threats include India, Israel, Taiwan, Nigeria, US, Holland, Russia, Germany, France, Italy, North Korea, Spain, Japan, Poland, Estonia, Brazil, China, Vietnam, Iran and Britain among others. The US-provided cyber security system, it was said, would protect end-to-end power transmission data, including consumer and smart meters, from cyber attacks.

In the briefing, it was said the US cooperation with Pakistan in power sector began in the 1980s with the introduction of computerised billing, automated meters and smart devices.

The USAID helped PITC staff improve their skills to address cyber security threats through comprehensive training initiatives.

Speaking on the occasion, USAID Mission Director Kate Somwongsiri emphasised the importance of cyber security systems for Pakistan’s energy sector, saying it was the key to a more secure and resilient power sector. She said United States wanted to further expand cooperation with Pakistan to build a transparent, efficient and reliable energy sector. Kate Somwongsiri said the cyber security system was part of the support given by the US to Pakistan.

The system was helping both countries to deal with global challenges, she said. Over the past ten years, US government had introduced several new technologies in Pakistan, she added. These technologies include smart meters, new software and tools.

The $1.2 million security equipment would significantly enhance PITC’s ability to protect the billing systems of all distribution companies in the country from cyber threats.