Saturday May 18, 2024

Social media being used for cybercrime, says FIA DG

By Salis bin Perwaiz
March 26, 2022

Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General (DG) Dr Sanaullah Abbasi has said cybercrimes have abundantly increased with the abundant use of internet and social media. He said the FIA received over 100,000 complaints from across the country in 2021 and in the first quarter of 2022, the number of complaints reached 60,000.

He said that despite limited resources, the FIA had successfully resolved most of the complaints and justice had been provided to the victims and punishments to perpetrators. Dr Abbasi said that he recently addressed the international conference on emerging trends in information and engineering technologies organised under the auspices of the Sindh University's Dr Abdul Hussain Shah Bukhari Postgraduate Centre in collaboration with the Sindh Higher Education Commission. There were many challenges being faced by the agency on account of limited resources, he said, adding that he was trying to overcome human and financial issues.

"There is a need to raise awareness among the youth to prevent cybercrimes and the role of university cannot be ignored in this regard,” he observed. Discussing the cybercrime law, punishments and the modus operandi for lodging the complaints, he remarked that the procedure for filing complaints with the FIA was easy. "Complaints can be lodged online by visiting the organisation's website while the same can also be made through correspondence.”

He said that a large number of students had lodged complaints regarding cybercrime for which steps were taken in accordance with the nature of the cases. He added that he also wanted to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the University of Sindh to work together on cyber security, under which internship opportunities would be provided to the graduates and undergraduates of the varsity.

The FIA DG said that recently 90,000 applications were received from youths across the country for internship in the FIA, which, he said, showed the confidence of the job-seekers in the agency. "We want our indigenous solution to cyber security and crimes,” he maintained.

Due to Covid-19, the entire budget of the agency was transferred by the government to the health department, as a result of which he said no significant grants were received by the FIA for the prevention of cybercrime.

He said cyber space patrol was also being carried out by the FIA and many social cyber activities had been detected and thwarted by the agency. The FIA DG said the FIA was working on involving university volunteers and internees to create awareness among the students and general public about cybercrime.

He added that with the increasing use of technology and the proliferation of smartphones and gadgets, the number of cybercrime complaints received by the agency from all over the country during 2021 were recorded over 1,00000. He said that in 23 per cent of the complaints, social media website Facebook was used as a medium for cybercrime.

Dr Abbasi said the increase in cybercrime reporting was a reflection of public confidence in the agency and not only the general public but also the law enforcing agencies had been contacting the agency because it was the only platform to investigate cybercrime cases and communicate with international law enforcement agencies.