The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has just inaugurated the National Telecom Security Operations Centre (NTSOC), a centralised platform designed to handle and mitigate cyber security incidents in the country’s telecom industry.
This growth also gives cyber security companies with major revenue opportunities.
According to a PTA statement made on Tuesday, the NTSOC was founded under the Pakistan National Cyber security Policy 2021 and the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA 2016) with the goal of protecting Pakistan’s crucial telecom data and infrastructure from cyberattacks.
Cyber security expert Etizaz Mohsin told The Express Tribune, “The formation of NTSOC by the PTA is a crucial step towards enhancing cyber security in Pakistan’s IT ecosystem and society. It is anticipated that it will boost the protection of essential telecom data and infrastructure against cyberattacks, improve Pakistan’s cyber security rating, and enable rapid and effective incident response.”
“The integration of the Security Operations Centres (SOCs) of the telecom operators and the national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) with NTSOC is a positive development that will further enhance Pakistan’s cyber security capabilities,” he noted.
According to a PTA release, the NTSOC is the first sectoral SOC to be established in Pakistan, following the issuance of a Cyber Security Policy. It consists of three essential components, Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM), Threat Intelligence, and Security Orchestration and Automated Response (SOAR), all of which have been locally adapted to improve the nation’s cyber security rating.
The NTSOC will connect with the SOCs of telecom operators and the Computer Emergency Reaction Team (CERT) to ensure a rapid and effective response to incidents. Six telecom operators have been merged with NTSOC, with the remainder gradually following suit. The statement noted that the initiative includes regular enhancements to the given technology to stay up with growing cyber security threats.
In an interview with The Express Tribune, Nasheed Malik, ICT Analyst at Topline Research, stated that cyber-attacks and warfare have grown increasingly widespread in the modern world.
“It has become a growing concern for Pakistan’s national security agencies, who continue to emphasise the need for enhanced cyber security measures,” Malik stated.
“This issue is not limited to the public sector; private companies are also taking cyber security seriously,” he continued, adding, “As a result, the position of Chief Cyber Threat or Chief Cyber Security Officer has become standard in every organisation.”
Over the course of a year, the government issued a national cyber security policy in an effort to address cyber attacks. “With the NTSOC, the government intends to consolidate its efforts to combat cyber threats,” Malik explained.
“Both the government and the private sector will need to hire cyber security specialists to protect themselves from cyberattacks,” he said, adding, “This initiative also presents an opportunity for IT companies to develop their cyber security capabilities and assist organisations in defending against cyber threats.”
Supernet Limited, a business recently launched on the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), is pursuing cyber security, while System Limited has also recently revealed aspirations to investigate the cyber security arena.
The recent theft of funds from depositors’ accounts at a large bank demonstrates the need for improved cyber security measures. This issue is not restricted to Pakistan alone; it is pervasive worldwide. Malik emphasised that this is a wake-up call for the public and private sectors to enhance their cyber security processes.
Reiterating the significance of a cyber security protocol, Malik stated, “Given the expanding number of cyber threats that organisations confront, cyber security is no longer ignorable. It is a matter of national security that both the government and the business sector take proactive steps to safeguard their systems and data from virtual threats. The formation of the NTSOC is a welcome development, but more remains to be done.”