The website of Pakistan’s National Response Centre for Cyber Crime describes ‘cyber-crime’ as any activity commissioned via computer, digital devices and networks used in the cyber realm facilitated through the internet medium. The scope of cyber-crime in Pakistan mostly covers data theft in both formal and informal sectors, stalking cyber users — and what is rampant nowadays — posting defamatory messages and slander.The National Response Centre cautions that pirated anti-virus security makes a personal computer vulnerable to cyber-attacks; within minutes of linking to the internet. The most vulnerable segment of society is that which is involved in social or internet surfing for entertainment purposes. The term ‘hacking’ encompasses attempts to penetrate computer systems, with the intent to steal or illegitimately examine confidential data. Data theft is increasingly targeting individual computers as well as corporate entities. The worst category of cyber crime is indulging in terrorist activities, violation of intellectual property rights compromising access to patents, trade secrets, customer data, sales trends, and any confidential information. In Pakistan harassing females or making unwanted advances towards them is on the rise causing psychological trauma. A common methodology is to transmit messages containing dangerous attachments known as malware, tempting victims to open the attachments. Where as financial fraud is a criminal behavior in which a person employs devious methods to trick a victim out of his wealth.The National Response Centre for Cyber Crime has been established to curtail the phenomenon of technological abuse in Pakistan and is oriented to develop expertise in Digital Forensics. Moreover it entertains and investigates complaints of un-authorized access of physical information system, digital data, personal identity, email hacking and creation of fake identities. The response time to address a complaint varies depending on the nature and complexity of the crime. The legal framework to curb cyber-crime is contained in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, and its preamble states “Whereas it is expedient to prevent unauthorised acts with respect to information systems and provide for related offences as well as mechanisms for their investigation, prosecution, trial and international cooperation with respect thereof and for matters connected therewith or ancillary thereto”. Section 2 of the Act contains exhaustive and wide ranged definitions to cater to digital crime as this is an emerging and rapidly evolving area.In the year 2013, there were reportedly 253 significant cyber security breaches, in which the personal information of more than 600 million people was compromisedGlobally, the economic cost of cyber-crime has been assessed at $445 billion annually. However there are no jurisdictional constraints which emphasis on the crucial necessity of international collaboration. Analysts suggest that the takedown of a single cloud provider could cause $50 billion to $120 billion in economic damages, which is almost equivalent to the damages incurred by Hurricane Sandy and Katrina.Canada has devised a National Cyber Security Strategy which includes a $1 billion cyber security fund at the insistence of the federal government agencies; to augment Canada’s cyber security infrastructure, as several strategic areas are threatened by a surge in cyber crime. The time is opportune to underscore the need for a firm and integrated response to transnational crime; as the hallmark of a truly open global economy, unfettered by transnational restrictions. However the phenomenal spread of e-commerce including the ease of access, lack of institutional response; have all encouraged cyber fraud to involve little risk, yet be excessively rewarding.As technologies refine and develop, the volume and pace of cyber-crime intensifies and in the year 2013, there were reportedly 253 significant cyber security breaches in which the personal information of more than 600 million people was compromised. More alarming is that the illicit economy is expanding and utilizing the tools of modern digital technology. The daunting challenge; is to develop a consensus with key stakeholders to shrink the magnitude of the illicit and shadow economy. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is currently in the process of establishing a Global Centre for Cyber Security in order to secure global cyber space. This year WEF’s annual Global Risk Report for 2018, indicated that cyber threats are contemplated to be a grave global threat closely following on the heels of climate change and natural disasters.The model for a consolidated global response as envisaged by the Global Centre for Cyber-Security is based on a public/private collaborative response to swelling cyber threats. The Centre incorporates five focal areas of operation through the consolidation of existing initiatives, launching a digital library of best practices and refining stakeholder’s perception of cyber security.Moreover, developing and promoting a cyber-digital regulatory framework and initiating research on how to tackle and channelise futuristic cyber security scenarios with new regimes of the fourth industrial revolution and the impact of quantum computing; are imperative.A Lahore based lawyer recently opined; regarding legal issues that arise in dealing with cyber-crime cases; government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to tackle the growing menace of cyber-crime. He stressed that social media users remain unaware of their legal rights and often transcend the red line between innocuous usage and activity entering the classification of cyber-crime.The writer has done his Bachelor of Science in Business and Management from the London School of Economics and is involved in research in the areas of finance and energyPublished in Daily Times, September 13th 2018.