Saturday April 20, 2024

Country witnesses massive jump in cybercrime cases

By Zahid Gishkori
May 06, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has witnessed a massive jump in harassment, blasphemous and anti-religion content and child pornography complaints in the past three years, according to official figures compiled by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The biggest ever rise was seen last year when FIA was registered 260 complaints per day reaching a figure of over 94,500 complaints in 2020. The FIA, the only state authority to deal with online crimes, has a meager capacity to handle some 12 to 15 complaints per day which means, according to officials, thousands of serious complaints remain unattended for months.

These complaints ranged in nature between minor cybercrimes like identity theft, spamming to serious allegations like child pornography, sexual harassment, anti-government, financial frauds, hacking, defamations and the list goes on. The FIA received 159, 187 complaints (147 complaints per day) in the past three years where the agency witnessed a rise of 60% in complaints in 2020 as compared to 48, 301 complaints in 2019 following 16, 122 registered complaints in 2018.

Entertaining complaints of 26 categories, the authority was dealing with record 44, 481 complaints against financial fraud involving millions of rupees. The agency received 22, 256 complaints against harassment, according to official figures exclusively made available with The Geo News. Most complaints were lodged by working women against their colleagues or acquaintances.

Similarly, FIA registered 1, 467 complaints against those who uploaded blasphemous contents on social media or websites. The agency also lodged 1, 479 complaints against anti-religion content. There is slow progress in these two categories (blasphemous and anti-religion content), say FIA officials terming it a very sensitive matter. The FIA also filed 280 complaints against pornography and 103 complaints were registered against those accused of child pornography. As many as 103 complaints were lodged against those posting anti-government stuff on social media.

Around 111, 000 complaints were addressed while 50,000 complaints have yet to be resolved, according to official figures. Some 100, 357 complaints disposed of in 2020, 1, 808 in 2019 and 9, 263 in 2018, added the figures. The FIA Cyber Crime wing received 14, 974 complaints against hacking, 10, 358 against defamation, 6, 601 against fake profiles, 9, 201 against unauthorised access and 5, 320 complaints were received against blackmailing.

It registered 2, 145 complaints against threats, 3, 019 of miscellaneous nature, 2, 678 against online shopping, 1, 970 complaints against stalking. The agency registered 1, 252 complaints against identity theft, 814 against online jobs fraud, 663 against spoofing, 612 against lottery frauds, 450 against online banking frauds, 361 against spamming, 395 against illegal SIMs, 59 complaints against cheaters of BISP, 149 complaints against phishing and 92 complaints were lodged against accused of digital currency.

FIA different zones received 36, 700 complaints from Lahore city, 22, 386 from Karachi, 20, 701 from Islamabad, 15, 891 from Rawalpindi, 1, 599 from Multan, 12, 145 from Faisalabad, 8, 792 Gujranwala, 6, 605 from Peshawar, 4, 955 from Hyderabad, 4, 950 from Abbottabad, 2, 105 DI Khan, 412 from GB, 184 Gwadar and 1, 186 complaints were received from Sukkur, according to official data.

The official data further revealed that FIA received 42, 357 complaints from Facebook, 17, 693 complaints came through WhatApp, 14, 109 complaints from emails, 8, 618 complaints came from phones, 6, 308 complaints came from other social media medium, 5, 563 complaints from websites, and the rest from other sources.

Official figures further revealed that 20, 066 gadgets used in cybercrimes were seized. Some 24 FIRs were registered against child abuse accused and 26 offenders were arrested in such cases. More than 2, 474 data reports obtained from NADRA and private and public sector banks. FIA responded to 191, out of 221 requests received from foreign jurisdictions. The agency also generated six requests for assistance to different foreign jurisdictions.

36700 complaints received from Lahore, 22386 from Karachi, 20701 from Islamabad, 15891 from Rawalpindi, 1599 from Multan, 12145 from Faisalabad, 8792 Gujranwala, 6605 from Peshawar, 4955 from Hyderabad, 4950 from Abbottabad, 2105 DI Khan, 412 from GB, 184 Gwadar and 1186 from Sukkur.