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KARACHI: President Dr Arif Alvi has highlighted the significance of cyber-security and termed it a national priority.

He was addressing Pakistan’s first operational technology conference on cyber-security, organised by the ACET Solutions.

The president insisted on the need to invest in skills and the young Pakistanis to “protect our civilisation”.

Operational technology (OT) deals with the systems that control equipment in electricity grids, water plants, oil and gas plants, mining, manufacturing, transportation and other critical infrastructure or industry.

The nationwide electricity shutdown in January is said to be the result of an attack by a foreign hacking group APT, which was highlighted by the president and various speakers as a wake-up call for OT cyber-security in Pakistan.

Chairman of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) Tauseef Farooqi underlined the need for power companies to be regulated under the Nepra’s OT/IT Cyber-security Regulation 2022. “Nepra’s OT/IT Cyber-security Regulation 2022 must be applied by all power sector companies in 2023,” he said.

The conference was attended by speakers from some of the world’s largest OT cyber-security technology vendors, such as Fortinet, who stressed the need for Pakistan’s OT to be secured. They warned that lack of cyber-security could result in shutdowns, or even worse, human injury.

“Fortinet, the world’s largest cyber-security technology vendor, supports Pakistan’s growth in cyber-security resilience,” said Fahad Faisal, the company’s business development manager.

Mubarik Mustafa of the ACET Solutions said that his company will help protect the country’s critical infrastructure, as the largest OT security services company in the region.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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