Oman tops the list of cyber security readiness in the Arab world and the country is fourth place in that regard at global level. This is according to the most recent Global Cyber Security Index (GCI) published by the United Nations’ specialized agency for Information and Communication Technologies, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The ranking measures the readiness of each nation’s level of cyber security preparedness. The rankings focuses on the five main pillars of cyber security which includes legal, technical, organizational, capacity building and cooperation, this according to the Director General of Oman’s National Computer Emergency Readiness Team, Badar Ali Al Salehi.
On the legal front, Oman passed laws on combating cyber crimes and Electronic Transactions (ETL) that made online transactions to become much more secured in the country. The laws to fight cyber crime were established by a Sultani decree in 2011. It targets a wide range of illegal activities that may be committed involving a computer device, a computer system or network.The cyber crimes and the Electronic Transaction (ETL) laws toughened the country’s punishments against ICT related crimes. Taking together, the two laws makes Oman the Middle Eastern & North African country with the best legal instruments for the prevention of cyber security threats.
Oman known for its strict and high levels of cyber security strategies has earned its prestigious spot among all Arab states. In 2009, Oman’s launched ‘Waay’ as part of its national information security initiative. The program encourages awareness in cyber and information security while sharing the best practices to diminish security risks.
The Sultanate is currently the regional center for cyber security for 21 countries across the Arab world. This came as a result of a 2012 Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Oman National CERT, the country’s cyber security agency, with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) designating Oman as the regional center for cyber security in the Middle East & North African (MENA) region.
Since that designation, the country has played a vital role in the fight against cyber crimes throughout the MENA region. Speaking recently, Badar Ali Al Salehi of the country’s emergency readiness team said “we have dealt with more than six million cyber-attacks on government websites, with increases of up to 300 per cent. Oman’s IT security specialists thwarted more than 70 million attacks that targeted government networks last year. More than 1,800 cyber security incidents targeting organizations and individuals have also been dealt with”
The cost involved in cyber-attacks is getting close to half a trillion dollars worldwide this year. Ransom-ware attacks that interrupt data on files and systems had been detected in the country but there were less infections reported there especially following the ‘WannaCry’ virus which caused a lot of cyber related problems around the world.