More than 279mn cy­ber­at­tacks on govt net­works thwarted in 2016, says ITA

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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