ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said recent attacks of cybercriminals on the banks resulting in heavy losses have exposed weaknesses in the online banking system. It has also brought the need for enhanced internet security in the banking and other sectors to the limelight, it said. After the attacks, around ten banks have stopped international transactions through their credit and debit cards which will add to the problems on consumers, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW. He said that all the businesses should improve cybersecurity while financial institutions should invest more in this sector under the supervision of the central bank to avoid theft of data. Murtaza Mughal said that cybercriminals have always remained a step ahead of government agencies. A recent report says that the internet security related losses which were $500 billion dollars in 2014 have surpassed 600 billion dollars in 2018.

The losses are set to increase to one percent of the global GDP by 2021 due to lax laws, low conviction rate and easy money, he said.

The government should invest more in cybersecurity and relevant laws should be improved to discourage the crime which has the potential to disturb banking industry, he demanded.

Dr Mughal said that cybercriminals know no boundaries, therefore, overcoming it is not possible without international cooperation.