Thursday, February 26, 2009

FIA Cyber Crime Circle keeping pace with technology

By Asadullah

Securing evidence from Khanani and Kalia International (KKI) Private Limited was a demanding challenge for the young digital investigators from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), as the forex company’s information technology (IT) system was par excellence — the data storage facility was state-of-the-art ISO-27001 certified, and even maintained at the prescribed room temperature.

“Superior technology and expertise made it possible,” claimed Zafar Iqbal, Assistant Director of the FIA Cyber Crime Circle. “We have developed a hybrid team of senior FIA officials and young IT and computer forensic experts to investigate reported offences under Electronic Crimes Ordinance 2007.”

Young IT experts or digital investigators, as they’re called within FIA, recovered digital evidence of foreign exchange transferred by KKI, thus enabling their sister concern FIA Crime Circle to initiate prosecution of the accused with authentic documentary evidence in hand.

“We secure the evidence, which in most cases turns out to be deleted data, without any addition or deletion, with the credibility of presenting the same in any court of law,” explained Iqbal. “It is collection of evidence towards communication of crime.”

“Our case report, based on digital evidence, can be produced in any court of law in the world,” claimed another senior FIA official. “We have established our digital lab, which is now equipped with the latest equipment to investigate any communication-related crime involving computers and phones.”

As per the interior ministry’s notification issued on March 3, 2008, the FIAs Cyber Crime Circle Karachi has been given ‘whole of the province of Sindh’ as its jurisdiction. “We are directly linked to the National Response Centre for Cyber Crimes better known as NR3C, which gets cyber crimes related complaints,” said the FIA official.

Being part of the NR3C, the FIA Cyber Crime Circle has its police station located off Sunset Boulevard in Defence. The NR3C is capable of tracing out any kind of cyber crime committed countrywide. “Victims of cyber crime are lodging their complaints with our police station to get relief,” said Zafar Iqbal, who heads the police station as well.

The importance of FIA as a law enforcement agency was also felt by the government when all offences of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2007 were added to the schedule of FIA. The FIA is now equipped with technical investigators, legal advisors, computer forensic experts and computer forensic labs.

Since communication equipment-related offences come under the Cyber Crime Circle’s purview, the department had to consider the role of technology to help investigations. “Cyber criminals leave digital footprints, which help computer forensic experts capturing any kind of hacking,” added Zafar Iqbal.

“Piracy and ignorance with regard to system’s security are two important areas which hamper online security,” said Amjad Abbasi, a technical investigator with the FIA. “We have been using the latest equipment to track down the accused through their mobile numbers, email addresses, websites and bank account details.”

The FIA Cyber Crime Circle in Karachi has dealt with more than 70 cases besides extending its expert help to different foreign missions, private companies and even individuals. One can submit online complaint at, a senior FIA official mentions. Cyber crimes are white-collar crimes, involving perpetrators of virtually no past record whatsoever. (The News Report)


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