His cyber name was ‘penetrator’ and he lived up to it. In July 2010, he hacked President Asif Ali Zardari’s website, pasted the president’s head on the body of a dancing girl, and inserted dirty jokes on the web page.
Given the nature of this crime, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was soon on its toes. The matter gained greater urgency because the incident occurred during a cyber war between Indian and Pakistani hackers. Two days later, the hacker was arrested. He maintained his act was ‘innocent’, and he did it just ‘for fun’. The hacker was found at a mobile phone shop in the Pindigheb area in northern Punjab, and it was reported that he was traced through his PTCL broadband connection and email id.
In 2009, there was a case where Rehman Malik’s website was hacked. The hackers left a message, “we don’t need such ministers”, with their names underneath. They also left a message saying “Pakistan Zindabad”. The move came after the former interior minister had launched a website, Facebook page, a Youtube channel, My Space and Friendster accounts, along with a fortnightly presence to chat with the public.
On September 27, 2011, the Supreme Court website was hacked. The hacker left an ideological message to the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. “I am here to request you to go out and help the poor, needy and hungry. They don’t have money to eat one-time meal, they don’t have clothes to wear, and they don’t have accommodation … sitting in your royal chair won’t make any changes to our Pakistan,” the message read. They also demanded the Supreme Court to take a suo moto notice against the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and ban pornographic websites.
In 2010, two young boys from Kohat had hacked the Supreme Court website and left derogatory remarks against the judiciary and chief justice. They were caught but let go because they were under 18 years of age.
“Cases where politician’s website are involved are quiet common. There are others where fake profiles and ids are used. An impostor poses as someone and uses the account to defame an individual,” explained an official at the FIA.
With the advent of social media, family feuds often take to the virtual world. In one such incident, a famous industrialist Fazal Dadabhoy, launched a complaint with the FIA over a Facebook user who used a picture from a lady in his family to defame her. After a detailed investigation and technical assistance, the culprit was traced to a location in the Defence Housing Authority. It turned out he was a habitual cyber criminal who at that time was using at least three Facebook ids to defame women of well reputed families. A raid was conducted but the culprit had disappeared along with his family leaving behind a laptop and a mobile phone.
Yet another incident involved an employee of the Karachi Water and Sewage Board who was blackmailing its managing director by sending him threatening emails. The culprit was a chief engineer at the KWSB and he was released on a bail of Rs 20,000 by the sessions court.
In one of the cases, a school in Islamabad was targeted, where the criminal targeted Facebook ids of female students. He would make fake profiles, mention their personal mobile numbers and tag them as ‘call girls’. The culprit was traced to a travel agency, after the FIA obtained Basic Subscriber Information (BSI) from Facebook, and then traced the Internet Protocol (IP address).