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Pakistanis make arrest in ransom-hacking case

Pakistani authorities last week made the country's first arrest in a "hacking-for-ransom" case.

The Pakistani Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) announced the arrest last week at a press conference, reported The Daily Times of Pakistan.

According to the FIA's Ammar Hussain Jaffari, the agency nabbed Waqas Abrar for hacking into e-mail systems of the Center for Development and Peace Initiative (CDPI). Abrar allegedly gained access to a account, changed its passwords to deny the company access and then demanded over 40,000 Pakistani Rupees to restore access.

Abrar is suspected of installing spying software on systems in internet cafes in Islamabad and was planning to hack 20 more email accounts for similar ransom amounts, according to press reports. The FIA arrested the 23-year-old Islamabad resident at one of these cafes.

He faces seven years in prison and a 1-million-rupee fine for his alleged offense.

International cybercrime experts said there will be more arrests like these as an increasing number of developing countries improve their legal frameworks to address cyber-threats.

"The cybercrime laws are widely divergent across the globe," said Jody Westby, CEO of Global Cyber Risk. "It has been an issue from the beginning, knowing that we have 220 countries connected to the internet and 200 of them are developing countries without the right legal frameworks in place. The problem is, if they don't have adequate cybercrime laws, it is very difficult to make arrests and prosecute these cases."

Pakistan's cabinet is considering a new law to clamp down on cybercrime.

"We are fighting a new breed of cybercriminal and more effective laws and strict measures are required to safeguard the internet and computer users against hacking," Jaffari said, according to press reports.

Click here to email Ericka Chickowski.

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