Cybercrime in the digital age: Challenges and opportunities for Pakistan

Written By: Hafsa Tariq, Iqra Jahan, Jaweria Ghaffar, Kabsha Arif, Maryam Ali


One of the emerging and serious challenges for the technological revolution is cybercrime.


From the beginning of the transistors, technology has been driven a society in which people are connecting to everyone in this world. Without any doubt technological evolution has made our lives easier than ever before in which internet existence is one of the blessed inventions of all. But these inventions are also having cons along with their pros and humans have also been involved in evading from these cons.

One of the emerging and serious challenges for the technological revolution is cybercrime. Cybercrime is the most recent type of digital crime which involves computers, hardware devices, computer networks, and digital devices. These devices or computers have been used as a tool to commit various crimes. Usage of social media has brought a new wave in the expansion of cybercrimes. Cybercrime does not only include hacking or stealing but it addresses a lot of different crimes such as child pornography, cyberstalking, unauthorized access, forgery etc. Cybercrime is hazardously affecting people, organizations, government bodies, individuals as they have become victims of cracking, piracy, cyber terrorism etc.

Initially, cybercrime has been evolved as a major challenge in the 21st century and it is expanding unexpectedly that now government and organizations are focusing to get evaded by this problem. Earlier, cybercrime was committed by different individuals and some small groups but nowadays it has been observed that there are now organized networks around the world, who are committing these cybercrimes.

For many people, it is easy to generate money without doing honest work as well as they want money in any way, therefore they are least or even not concerned about sniping, deceiving and exploiting other people. In that term’s cybercrime is rapidly increasing and have become a major threat for all.

It is observed that the developed countries like the United States of America (USA), having more advance technologies, are becoming more victims of cybercrimes as compared to developing countries. However, with the advancement of technologies all around the world, now even developing countries like Pakistan are also becoming victims of cybercrime.

Cybercrime is mainly committed at the following three levels:

Individual: Crime against individuals constitutes cyberstalking, trafficking, disturbing etc. for which government securities are taking majors to reach and arrest such kind of committers.

Property: Similar to a crime against property in real-world such as stealing and robbing, cybercrime for property in the digital world commits to steal data, misusing information details, scamming, accessing organization’s websites, disrupting the systems of organizations etc.

Government: Government has been affected by cybercrime in terms of cyber terrorism in which if criminals succeeded, it can result in devastation and panic for the citizens. These criminals also attempt to hack government websites, circulate various propaganda, military websites etc.

There are various types of cybercrimes evolving along with the usage of social media around the world:

  1. Hacking
  2. Theft
  3. cyberstalking
  4. Computer vandalism
  5. Child soliciting and abuse
  6. Identify theft
  7. Malicious software

International forums for cybercrime had reported that cybercrime approximately costs $50 billion per annum. This figure denotes the increasing trend of cybercrime around the world which is must to consider and focus on to mitigate these crimes to an extent. It was found that mostly the cyber crimes have been committed by the young-age group 6-18 years due to some reasons such as exploring, curiosity, to become outstanding amongst others. This severe issue should be handled or eliminate by the government by identifying the actual causes as well as implementing strict laws against cybercriminals.

Cybercrimes at International Level:

Cybercrime firstly committed in the year 1820. In France, a man named, Joseph-Marie is a textile administrator who generated a loom device. This device used to attempt a series of different procedures on a fabric. But it was a fear for their employees that if Joseph uses this device, they lose their jobs. For this purpose, they destroy a loom to stop Joseph from the advanced use of technology.

In this modern era, cybercrime is growing day by day because each and everything is being handled through computers whether it’s a microwave oven or a nuclear power plant. According to the report, the US $10 million from Citibank through cheating carried out from the bank and transfer to Switzerland bank.

Globally, the United States of America ranked first in the cybercrimes where the huge crimes were noticed. Now the U.S. is working to prevent the country from crimes so they actively take action when they got any cybercriminal attack information.

Now a day’s criminals are conscious to earn profit through cybercrime, they are switching to more targeted attacks; they mostly attack those devices whose information would be more valuable information, accurate, such as a computer, mobile devices, etc. Various international trends can be observed such as;

Platform switch scams: Criminals are now switching from PCs to the devices which are more in personal and daily use, i.e. Mobile phones and Cloud, if we take an example, these can be presented as a vital example of the devices which are in daily use and the information here is mostly personal and sensitive which sometimes is important for the user that it stays confidential. With this switch, now Google accounts and these Cloud accounts have introduced the two-factor-Authentication system, which consists of the security check in order to avoid any such hacking or criminals’ acts.

Social engineering scams: This has proved to be the highly effective and the main mean used in cyber-crime. As it is done through the platforms where there is more social interaction and the examples that can be highlighted are; the spams and the advertisements or messages which fool us in downloading the application or clicking the link, which can make our data and information accessible to the criminals.

Highly targeted: Those platforms which target a whole industrial system affecting economies, such as the international wars etc., the most popular example is STUXNET network worm, which is famous for the use in attacking the Iran nuclear facilities.

Dissemination and use of malware: Malware has targeted almost all internationally, the main forms include emails, have been used over the year targeting worlds important economies, and not only international economies but also businesses affecting them with the high number of estimates, which results in the theft and unemployment, causing the loss overall.

Cybercrime in Pakistan:

Being part of the digitalized world and adopting many technologies in various fields, Pakistan is also a victim of cybercrimes which is increasing day by day. Many people and organizations are becoming victims of this abuse on a daily basis.

According to the article published in Dawn newspaper in October 2018, cyber crime circle has so far in 2018 conducted 2,295 injuries, registered 225 cases and made 209 arrests. The corresponding figures for 2017 were less i.e. 1,290 injuries, 2017 cases registered and 160 arrests made, whereas the figure for 2016 at 514 injuries, 47 registered cases and 49 arrested. There is an immense increase in the figure. According to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the harassment and blackmailing of women have sharply increased in the country.

The Internet banking system is at high risk in Pakistan. Account-holders can lose their money to hackers and criminals sitting offshore somewhere where there is no law enforcing agencies. Globally, strict measures are being taken against cybercrimes. Laws have been enforced and policies have been made to control cybercrimes.

Cybercrime Laws and Implementation in Pakistan:

Electronic Transactions Ordinance, 2002 (Ordinance LI of 2002) is the first Pakistan cybercrime law which was implemented to control dissimilar characteristics and usages of IT. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) do a lot of struggles to control every single phase of telecommunication sector of Pakistan and to encounter all over the world modelled experiments of opposition and placidity, through PTA Recreate Act, 1996, which was Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1993.

Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2007 (Ordinance LXXII of 2007) was actually implement for connecting to Telecom Sector of Pakistan cover all features concerning telecom and IT in their lawful, domestic and worldwide outlooks which may be accessed or used if we feel required and appropriate to enhance our awareness and info about uncomplicated controlling systems and outlines in the telecom and IT fields.

Owing to unsuccessful implementation, the federal government lately passed cybercrime law Prevention of Electronic Crime Bill 2016mainly due to nonstop violations on social media. The law was passed in 2016 by the government of Pakistan after so much condemnation from the other political parties and also by the civilians. Nonetheless, in the meantime the law came into power, it was failed to implement by the government. In this law immoral and obscene communications on social media podiums had been made violate without describing offensiveness and sin. It is believed that this law is likely to be formed to stop the unhealthy usage of contents similar to pornography, irreligious posts, and religious detestation speaking is existing on social media. The FIA is the capable specialist and destined to capture the violators.

The law implementation is very challenging because as the creation of law and financing was a very big challenge up till now for Pakistan government. Thus, this leaves us with numerous circumstances where the main concern of the government and the policymaking do not come together to generate collaboration in authority and civil policy.


However, all people are not the targets of cybercrimes, but they still are in danger. Law-breaking by cybernetic organism shows a discrepancy, but they don’t every time happen behind the processer, on the other hand, they accomplished by computer. The hacker possibly will be living three zones far from its targets, and the targets wouldn’t even aware of being the victims of cybercrime. Law-breaking through the cybernetic organism are the biggest problem in 21st century’s by means of the know-how of technology increase, convicts wouldn’t steal from banks, not even they obligate any criminality outside. They have the whole thing which they need to commit a crime to have in their hand. Their weapons aren’t armaments any longer; they target through mouse pointers and PINs.

In Pakistan, though the government is taking action against cybercrime, FIA cyber wing even claims to have established cybercrime systems but due to the intense increase in these crimes, more expansion is needed. Strict laws and serious actions have to be taken in order to solve these crimes so that people feel secure while using the internet.

The writers are students.

About Social and Development log of Pakistan (SDLP)

Social and Development log of Pakistan (SDLP) is an attempt to highlights real public issues, which include social, economic and political issues, and complete policy analysis of that issues having experts opinion and analysis on it. SDLP will raise all public issues on the basis of facts and try to advocate at the highest forum which may influence the policy-makers and draw their attention towards the real problem. SDLP also welcomes contributions to our blog. For that you may send your queries/suggestions/articles etc at Twitter: or @taimur__ Facebook:
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