Oman thwarts 14 billion cyberattacks in 2019

Oman’s cyber defenses foiled a staggering 14 billion cyberattacks over the course of last year, the Ministry of Technology and Communications (MTC) announced in its 2019 annual report.

“The ministry always supports the security of government entities by providing network protection, information systems security, responding to cyber-attacks, and threats related to government information security and generally providing security to the cyberspace in Oman,” it said in a statement.

In addition to uncovering and tackling 332 cybersecurity incidents in 2019, Oman thwarted 14.111 billion malicious attempts against government networks.  In coordination with other government entities, the Ministry also discovered 41735 vulnerabilities, analysed and inspected 13,896 IP addresses, offered 91 security consulting services, completed 135 security assessments, and integrated 29 government web portals into the portal protection service, it said.

In 2019, Oman National CERT discovered and handled 483,794 real attempted service attacks, (152,480 web attacks, 152 malware attacks, 89,505 mobile attack and 2,099,498 phishing attacks).

The National Digital Forensic Lab handled 162 digital forensics cases with 813 evidence devices including computers, mobile, phones, external hard disk and USBs resulted from cyber-crime cases in Oman.

Oman National CERT also completed the national drill for cybersecurity with the participation of 73 government entities and infrastructure and critical sectors of banking, utilities, transport and logistics, and oil & gas sector.

eGovernment

In the eGovernment pillar, the Ministry has worked on 14 digital transformation projects in 2019, three of which are in the consulting phase, two in the tendering phase, three projects in the proposals evaluation phase and two projects are in the contracting phase, while the remaining 4 projects are in execution.

The Ministry also offered 66 consulting services related to digital transformation projects in the government sector including general consultations, trade consultations, and technical consultations. In the digital transformation project management office, the offices worked on preparing 40 project managers from several government entities.

The government entities have also achieved growth in the number of electronic services offered within the digital transformation program, as 195 eServices have been launched in 2019. In the area of utilizing the emerging technologies, the ministry along with the Ministry of Health launched the actual implementation phase of using artificial intelligence in breast cancer diagnosis in some hospitals in the Sultanate.

ICT industry Development

As the information technology industry is considered a major part of Oman’s digital strategy, the ministry continues to support all established centers and initiatives that support this industry with related projects and products. On top of these centers is Sas for Entrepreneurship, which offered 75 consulting services for individuals and start-ups, and incubated 76 Omani companies that contributed in generating 520 job opportunities. These companies, in turn, have signed contracts of a value of more than RO 7.320 million since the establishment of the Sas Center in 2013.

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