Nepal has officially enacted its inaugural legislation targeting cybercrime as the Cabinet meeting endorsed the National Cyber Security Policy 2023 on Tuesday.

Rekha Sharma, spokesperson for the government and Minister for Communication and Information Technology, informed journalists that the cabinet had given its approval to the policy.

Netra Prasad Subedi, spokesperson for the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, stated, “The policy encompasses a comprehensive overview of the nation’s existing cyber landscape and presents a vision, mission, objectives, strategy, and work plans tailored to securing the digital realm across governmental, private, and non-governmental sectors.”

Subedi added that the policy would encompass requisite frameworks for cyber security, capacity enhancement, and safeguarding data. Additionally, the policy envisions the establishment of a distinct entity named the ‘Cyber Security Center’ to optimize the effectiveness of related endeavors.

Given the absence of pertinent legislation, instances of digital platform-related offenses have been mounting. According to records from the Nepal Police, incidents of cyberbullying have surged since 2014.

Numerous instances of data breaches affecting e-commerce businesses, internet service providers, the Central Library, ATM system breaches, social media intrusions, and cyberbullying have been documented in recent years, exposing vulnerabilities in Nepal’s cyber security infrastructure. Additionally, government offices have experienced operational disruption due to data breaches.

In lieu of specific legal provisions, cybercrime cases have been handled under the Electronic Transaction Act of 2008. Over the past few years, an expert group known as the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), operating under the Department of Information Technology, has been tasked with mitigating cyber security threats such as hacking and phishing.