Muscat: Oman thwarted more than 880 million cyber attacks on government networks in 2017, according to the Information Technology Authority’s (ITA) Annual Report 2017.

A total of 1.41 million attacks specifically targeting government websites were successfully warded off in 2017, compared to 1.75 million in 2016, according to the report.

The Information Security Division (ISD), one of the ITA’s main divisions, which is responsible for the security of government entities, thwarted 1,411,043 cyberattacks against government websites.

The ITA further discovered 1,859 spyware (6,416 in 2016) and 11,370 (7,824 in 2016) viruses and malware, with 2,459 real cybersecurity incidents reported by government and public successfully handled.

The report said that Oman was cited as a country with some of the best organisational practices thanks to its high level cybersecurity strategy and master plan, and comprehensive road map. Its strengths include the organisational structure, legal measures, capacity building, technical and procedural measures, and regional and international cooperation.

“This could be true because of the role of Oman ITA and their continuous investment in cybersecurity,” added the report.

The Oman Computer Emergency Readiness Team (OCERT) was launched in 2010 to study cyber threats and risks that could harm both public and private internet users in Oman.

According to the report, Oman is very active in the field of cybersecurity and has continuous audits and checks. It also compares itself to other countries to see how well-prepared it is.

“Oman also has an agreement with Ernst and Young to conduct a benchmark exercise under the Global Information Security Survey (GISS). The GISS provides an organisation with an opportunity to compare themselves with others on important information security issues and gain insights for making key decisions through questions relating to security budget, investments, security governance, security effectiveness, maturity of security programmes, security environment, and emerging technologies and trends,” reads the report.

Oman is also doing well regarding IT security education, as the OCERT is working closely with the Ministry of Education to introduce information security curriculum in schools

Oman also has more than 10 partnerships with countries and organisations to facilitate sharing cybersecurity assets. It has participated in numerous international conferences on cybersecurity, and even hosed a number of them.