If past rumours of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s audio recordings being leaked were not troubling enough, we have now reached the highest level of a security breach. It was reported that audio recordings directly from the PM’s office—with PM Shehbaz Sharif’s conversations with government officials and party members—have been released online. It is unclear if the recordings have been exposed as a result of a bug in the office or through a hacker, but what is clear is that this massive breach poses a multitude of questions against the security team and how effective it has been against glaring vulnerabilities.

Make no mistake, the PM’s office should be on the top of the list of most secure national targets, and the work being carried out by the highest levels of government must be treated with the utmost secrecy, considering issues of national security are being discussed in the office of the Prime Minister. Everything from the numbers and picture of our economy to the highest security concerns is discussed within those walls. The security detail must be equipped and trained to deal with any vulnerabilities.

The fact that this leak took place shows that there was either a one-time lapse or some oversight that has allowed for this to happen; either way, the damage is more or less the same. The conversations that have currently been doing the rounds online do not feature anything supremely confidential and important for national security, but just the fact that this happened is troubling enough. Questions must be asked of the whole security detail and the investigation should plug any holes in the future.

As it stands, a new set of standard operating procedures must be developed for the various security tiers of civilian political leaders, bureaucrats, and other government functionaries. The mediums they use for communication, where meetings are held, confidential documents, and online presence need to be reviewed and a new system needs to be developed where breaches and leaks are filtered out. Ironically, while the PTA is going about making the use of VPNs more difficult, the PM’s office and all other government institutions should be on a secure private network on the internet as well.

The individuals themselves, those in power and close to it, need to be trained so that information is not made public this easily. While political leaders tend to use these leaks for political point scoring and vague allegations, it must be remembered that there is a world beyond domestic politics, and the ramifications of a data breach can be much more serious than embarrassment on the national stage. There are non-state actors and other governments that are looking to attack the state of Pakistan through any available opportunity and breaches such as this are a golden opportunity.