Multi-pronged strategy to cut cyberattacks

MUSCAT, SEPT 9 – The Sultanate will adopt a multi-pronged strategy against cyberattacks, according to Aziza Sultan al Rashdi, Director, Cyber Security Professional Services, Oman National CERT (OCERT), ITA. “Only a multidimensional approach can counter the increasing attempts in the cyber world and that strategy needs to be incorporated with all technical, legal, organisational structure, capacity building and international cooperation to be effective in tackling the menace”, Al Rashdi told the Observer on the sidelines of the three-day National Cybersecurity Drill organised by the Information Technology Authority (ITA), represented by the OCERT, and being held at Kempinski Hotel since Monday.

“The OCERT has issued more than 340 security threat announcements last year, which helped to handle several operating system vulnerabilities. The announcements were issued several months before the attacks to avoid what could have been exploited by attackers’’.“However”, she adds, “Having the right, updated technology against such attacks is of paramount importance and organisations should consider this as the prime factor in fight against cyberattacks.” “Having the laws, right rules and regulations and implementing them against such offences would make combat easier in the long run,” she further added.

Training of staff members to move against such attacks is equally important, according to Aziza Sultan al Rashdi. Liaising with international bodies, striking MoUs with other countries and working very closely with them would be instrumental in tackling cross-border cyberattacks. “We need to have proper international coordination, cooperation and strategic deals with other countries so that the burgeoning number of attempts in our cyber world can be checked”, Aziza said, adding that, “We encourage all entities to follow and implement security policies, frameworks, and other security announcements about threats and vulnerability issued by Oman National CERT,”

The three-day drill aims to evaluate the readiness of cybersecurity response teams of the participating organisations and develop national capabilities and skills in this area. The drill is a simulation of real-world cybersecurity incidents based on the most common security threats and attacks nationally and worldwide. The drill will also discuss several topics such as cryptocurrency mining malware, phishing attacks, interactive protection simulation and dark web.