More than 279mn cyberattacks on govt networks thwarted in 2016, says ITA
Oman warded off more than 279mn cyberattacks on government networks in 2016, while 1.75mn such attacks specifically targeting government websites were successfully prevented.
The information was revealed in Information Technology Authority's (ITA) Annual Report 2016.
According to International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2017, Oman is among the top five most cybersecure countries in the world and first in the Arab world.
The Information Security Division (ISD) of ITA, which provides networks and portals protection, secure Internet access, endpoint security, information security operations, security assessment and IT security consultancies, rendered 279,151,002 cyberattacks useless against government networks while it thwarted 1,745,424 cyberattacks against government websites.
ISD further discovered 6,416 spyware and 7,824 viruses and malware, with 6,994 security threats discovered and reported to clients. It further said 100 per cent of familiar security incidents were detected within 30 seconds and that 90.9 per cent of risk analysis requests were reviewed with feedback provided within three days.
The Oman Computer Emergency Readiness Team (OCERT), which addresses the issues of cyberthreats and risks and the provision of a secured cyber environment in using eServices and protection of critical national information infrastruc- ture, discovered and handled 16,118 real and serious cybersecurity attacks targeting Oman’s cyberspace.
OCERT also discovered security vulnerability in Apple iOS 10.1 and macOS Sierra 10 that would have enabled the attacker to damage the victim’s system and thus lose its entire data. Apple Inc announced the incident on its website and the efforts taken by OCERT to discover it.
OCERT also handled 39 digital forensic cases with 141 evidence devices including computers, mobile phones, external hard disks and USBs on cybercrime cases.
“The Sultanate of Oman is top ranked among Arab states with the highest scores in the legal and capacity building pillars. Oman has a robust organisational structure, including a highlevel cybersecurity strategy and masterplan and comprehensive roadmap,” the Global Cybersecurity Index stated.
Among other achievements of ITA is its Sas Centre for Mobile Applications Development with the aim of enriching digital content on the Internet and developing IT skills among youth.
This centre is the first of its kind in the sultanate, and is designed to provide a platform to establish a capable pool of talents in building mobile applications with a view to develop and enhance the overall skills of Omanis. It also caters for building the national capacity in transforming ideas into applications and sustainable business enterprises. In less than a year, the centre has successfully trained 193 Omanis in smart mobile apps development.