Cybersecurity Threat Casts Shadow on Pakistan’s Independence Day Festivities

The National Telecommunication and Information Security Board (NTISB) has raised concerns about a potential cyberattack on Pakistan’s Independence Day, August 14, 2023. The board has issued an advisory titled “Preventing Website Compromise on National Days,” warning of the likelihood of hostile elements or state-sponsored actors targeting government and defense sector websites to disrupt services and deface the country’s image.

In response, NTISB has sent out guidelines to website administrators and service providers, urging them to take additional security measures such as web server strengthening and traffic monitoring to thwart possible hacking attempts. So far in 2023, NTISB has released 47 advisories addressing cyber threats, hacking, fraudulent emails, and protection guidelines for individuals, government personnel, and websites.

The board emphasized several cybersecurity recommendations for web server administrators, including upgrading operating systems and web servers to the latest versions, employing input validation techniques to defend against SQL injection attacks, conducting thorough analysis and penetration testing, and ensuring the use of HTTPS protocol for secure communication.

NTISB also emphasized the importance of encrypted data storage, minimized database user privileges, secure coding practices, and the deployment of web application firewalls for protection against web attacks. Additionally, they highlighted the significance of keeping system and network devices up-to-date and implementing a log retention policy for attacker reconnaissance data for a minimum of three months.