The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday raised concerns over a potential cyber security breach after numerous employees reported receiving suspicious emails from unidentified senders, media reports said.
In response to the alarming development, the ECP swiftly issued a cyber security alert cautioning its officials against opening any such emails, suspecting a ransomware attack aimed at unauthorised data acquisition, Samaa TV reported.
A statement released by the Commission urgently called on all employees to exercise extreme caution, advising them to disregard and report any emails from unknown or anonymous sources, the report said.
The message explicitly labeled the emails as potential ransomware threats that may lead to the unauthorized extraction of valuable information.
Meanwhile, the electoral watchdog has also urged political parties, candidates, and relevant stakeholders to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to protect their digital infrastructure from potential cyber-attacks, Samaa TV reported.
As the country gears up for the upcoming general elections, the Commission has emphasised the significance of collective efforts to combat cyber threats and maintain the trust of the electorate.
The letter dated July 6, titled “Cyber Security Alert” and written by ECP information security specialist Naveed Ahmed Kandhir shared a screengrab of an email sent to an ECP official that asked the recipient to open an attached RAR file titled “Cabinet”, Dawn reported.
Referring to the said email, the ECP said that “someone is […] sending the email to all” the ECP officials.
The electoral body said it was a “ransomware attack and trying to steal the information”, and asked its employees to not open the said email, ignore it and report it as spam.
The alleged phishing email — sent to an ECP employee — informed the recipient about a letter, dated July 5, that was attached to the email, Dawn reported.
In January this year, Power Minister Khurram Dastgir had said a “cyberattack on the national grid cannot be ruled out” when detailing the inquiry progress on a countrywide power outgae earlier that month, Dawn reported.