FBR data centre has been restored to full health

ISLAMABAD ( Web News )

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) data centre that weathered a vicious cyber-attack over the weekend has been restored to full health and all the data stored there remains safe, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said, adding the system is now fully operational.

“Yes the system was hacked,” said the finance minister to a query by this correspondent. “But all major systems are now backing to normal and no damage has been done to the data.” The News Reported.

“Details about the disruption in the system have been submitted by FBR, which will be verified and augmented by external experts so that this does not happen again,” Tarin said.

The finance minister’s admission of the attack is an improvement on the position taken earlier FBR, who denied reports of the alleged hacking of Weboc and other system Sunday and Monday. Weboc is the online FBR portal for all Customs-related services.

A clarification issued by FBR Sunday had stated that Customs’ operations remained fully operational throughout this week.

Goods Declaration (GD) filing in Weboc for export remained fully operational. However, due to slight glitch in Active Taxpayer List (ATL) module, import GDs filing was temporarily affected where ATL data was required as input in the Weboc system, which was restored on priority.

The FBR said Goods Declaration for imports was being filed smoothly and daily GD filing (import as well as export) for the last three years on August 14 were 310 in year 2019, 1,148 in 2020, and it was 1,901 in 2021. Moreover, import GD filings for the last two days are 198 and 86 Wednesday till noon. So FBR issued figures of filing declaration of imports and exports.

This is worth mentioning that the US had accused Pakistan’s Federal of Board of Revenue of using ‘pirated’ version of its software and urged Pakistan to refrain from engaging in such practices. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells raised this piracy issue during her visit to Pakistan.

According to media reports, Wells had maintained that FBR was using the pirated version of VMware illegally and she urged Pakistan to buy the software instead of illegally using it. Then FBR had denied these allegations and officials said this is simply not true.

Now insiders in FBR told this correspondent that this pirated software was hacked and now Pakistan is considering engaging with the concerned company for its protection. Second option under consideration was that this new software should be developed or bought from a highly-reputed firm ensuring a safety features.