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FIA Catches Hackers For Demanding Ransom

The 'Federal Investigation Agency' (FIA) of Pakistan has been successful to solve the country's first 'hacking-for-ransom' case and caught the accused, said the agency's project director on December 9, 2006. The FIA is a premier 'Federal Law Enforcement Agency' formed under an Act of Parliament.

Ammar Hussain Jaffari told reporters at a news conference that the FIA arrested Waqas Abrar, 23, from an Internet café. Abrar is a resident of Islamabad.

Jaffari reported that Abrar had invaded an e-mail account of the 'Centre for Development and Peace Initiative' (CDPI), a private company running in Islamabad. Abrar altered the company's passwords, disabling access to the company account. He sent e-mail to the company demanding over Rs.40,000 in return for restoring access to the account.

The culprit used the latest spying software for his hacking operation on the CDPI account to get access to all e-mails and database saved in the company inbox, said Jaffari. He said the accused had loaded the spying software on computers of different Internet cafes in Islamabad. He was making plans to hack 20 more e-mail boxes of individuals and multinational companies very soon.

The authority experts examined Abrar's personal computer and discovered more information about his illegal activities. The accused would face trial under the 'Electronic Transaction Ordinance 2000' and could be punished for a maximum of seven years imprisonment or fine up to Rs.1 million or both.

According to Jaffari, there was a consolidated battle against this new breed of cyber criminals, which required more effective laws and stringent measures to protect the Internet and computer users from hacking. The federal cabinet has been presented a draft of a new law on cyber crimes, hoping it would arrest online crimes in the country.

The FIA, together with 'Ministry of Information Technology', was working on a mechanism to handle various risks arising and affecting computer users. The cyber crime division would be provided with policies and tools to track down hackers who cause harm to information and communication system. They would also be prevented from modifying, deleting, generating, transmitting or storing any data that law does not permit them to do.

Related article: F-Secure Alerts against Bogus Windows Update Sites

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