SIALKOT - Seven more Sialkot-based exporters bank accounts have been hacked international cyber crime gang(s), said the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).

They have sought urgent help and remedy against the growing incidents of bank account hacking in Sialkot.

SCCI Departmental Committee on Media/ Cyber Crime Chairman Umer Khalid disclosed this while addressing a meeting held at SCCI here. Umer Khalid told the meeting that some international hackers have hacked total amounts of more than Rs16m in seven fresh separate incidents.

The affected Sialkot exporters Abdul Samad and Mehar Ashraf told the meeting that their moneys (amounting Rs.16 million) have been hacked from their bank accounts by some unknown international hackers in seven separate incidents from Sialkot through USA, Sweden,  Poland, China, Japan, Finland, Thailand and Hong Kong. The accused hackers opened the dummy bank accounts same in the name of the bank accounts of these affected Sialkot exporters and hacked these big amounts, the meeting was told.

“These were the payments sent by the foreign customers to the Sialkot exporters, but the amounts were hacked from Sialkot exporters’ bank accounts by some unknown international hackers”, chairman added.

SCCI’s Departmental Committee on Media/ Cyber Crime has expressed grave concern over the rising incidents of money hacking and cyber crime against the Sialkot exporters.

He asked the Sialkot exporters to upgrade the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure in their factories, besides, upgrading their cyber security systems besides adopting the advanced information technology (IT) skills to avert further such incidents crime in future. He said the cases of back hacking would be pursued at the end point. He added that the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) was taking Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Secretary of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), all the Pakistani Commercial Consulates in abroad  and Sialkot exporters’ foreign customers in a bid to provide remedy to the victims of money hacking incidents by the international hackers. He said that these hacking cases would be forwarded to the FIA Cyber Crime Wing with the help of the DG of the FIA as well.

The meeting was told that there were flaws in Pakistan’s anti cyber crime laws, due to which it has become vital now to seek the help of Pakistani foreign trade missions in abroad and Sialkot exporters’ foreign customers as well. He said that these payments sent by the foreign customers to Sialkot exporters were insured due to which the foreign customers could play an important role in getting back their money by pursuing their foreign banks as well.

Committee’s secretary Salman Mir said that the role of the man in the middle would be curtailed by ensuring maximum preventive measures by taking all the stakeholders on board. Chairman Umer Khalid told that the SCCI was also hiring some international famed cyber crime IT experts for giving necessary training to the Sialkot exporters to avert the growing incidents of the money hacking by the hackers as well.

Umer Khalid said that Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) was also developing an advanced anti-hacking information technology software with the help of international famed IT experts.

He said that as many as 70 percent work of this software project has been completed. SCCI will provide this anti-hacking software to its members on subsidized rates in a bid to enable the Sialkot exporters to avert their money hacking incidents through this advanced software as well. Committee’s senior member Arif Mehmood Sheikh said that the hackers were targeting the small businesses, SMEs and exporters in Sialkot here by hacking their computers and data breaching as well.

Committee’s Secretary Salman Mir told the meeting that SCCI will soon host an awareness-raising seminar at SCCI, in which the international exporters will give detailed briefing about the computer hacking, data breach laws and the reasons behind the targeting of the exporters by the hackers as well. The exporters would be able to learn the valuable tips about the cyber security precautionary measures, to minimize cyber risks besides, protecting their businesses from data breach in this seminar, said Committee’s senior member Muhammad Ayub Khan.

Committee’s member Kashif Almas revealed that these incidents are rising, as the affected Sialkot exporters were also reluctant to report their cases to Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) or to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) through SCCI here. Secretary of SCCI’s Cyber Crime/Media Committee Salman Mir told that as many as  seven fresh cases of hacking have yet been reported by the affected Sialkot exporters in 2019.

While , more than 60 such cases of cyber crime were reported to SCCI by Sialkot exporters during 2018. He said that this number could be more as several victims were reluctant to report their cases to SCCI here.

Meanwhile, Senior Vice President of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Waqas Akram Awan revealed that the major reasons behind the rising incidents of the cyber crime were the lack of the advanced skills of information technology and cyber security as well.

SCCI’s Departmental Committee on Media/ Cyber Crime expressed grave concern over the rising cyber crime incidents with the Sialkot exporters by the unknown hackers. Committee also sought the active cooperation and help of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), secretary TDAP, Pakistan’s trade attaches in foreign embassies and Sialkot exporters’ foreign customers  in curbing the menace of cyber crime with the Sialkot exporters for early relief, in this regard.

Chairman Committee Umer Khalid, the cybercrime incidents with the Sialkot exporters are increasing, especially against the small industrialists and exporters due to the lack of advanced cyber security skills.

He said that the Sialkot exporters also demanded the early establishment of special counter of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) to facilitate the Sialkot exporters for the submission of their cyber crime complaints and cases before FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing as well.

He also stressed upon the Sialkot exporters to upgrade their cyber systems besides adopting the advanced information technology (IT) skills to avert further cyber crime by the unknown hackers in future.

Senior members of SCCI’s Departmental Committee on Media/ Cyber Crime Kashif Almas, Muhammad Ayub Khan, Abid Hussain Mehdi, Arif Mehmood Sheikh, Khawaja Rehan Naseem, Mohsin Gull and victims of these hacking incidents also attended this important meeting. Committee discussed in details the burning issue of cybercrime against the exporters besides stressing the need of finding out amicable solution to this nasty matter.