Oman tops Arab world, ranks fourth globally in cybersecurity

Muscat - 

Oman is the most cybersecure country in the Arab world and ranks fourth on the global level, International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2017 has revealed. GCI is a multi-stakeholder initiative to measure the commitment of countries to cybersecurity.

Singapore, the US, Malaysia, Oman and Estonia form the top five in the world in GCI 2017. In the Arab world, Oman, Egypt and Qatar are the top three countries leading with their commitments towards cybersecurity.

This is the second GCI after 2014, where Oman was placed third. “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 high-level cybersecurity strategy and master plan and comprehensive roadmap,” the report stated.

Egypt ranks second with a full range of cooperation initiatives. It is a member of the UN Government Group of Experts (GGE) on cybersecurity, has chaired the ITU Working Group for Child Online Protection, was a founding member of AfricaCERT7, and has a number of bilateral and multilateral agreements on cybersecurity cooperation.

Qatar ranks third and has been building a cybersecurity culture through campaigns such as Safer Internet Day and has spread warnings about online threats, such as fraud and Internet scams, via print and social media.

The Qatar Cyber Crimes Investigation Centre and Information Security Centre support efforts to safeguard the public and crack down on those who use technology to carry out criminal activities.

The GCI is a composite index combining 25 indicators into one benchmark measure to monitor and compare the level of ITU member states cybersecurity commitment with regard to the five pillars, which include legal, technical, organisational, capacity building and cooperation. One of the strongest commitments, cites the report, is to outline a cybersecurity strategy describing how the country will prepare and respond to attacks against its digital networks.

According to the report, only 38 per cent countries have a published cybersecurity strategy and only 11 per cent have a dedicated standalone strategy, another 12 per cent have a cybersecurity strategy under development.

“More effort is needed in this critical area, particularly since it conveys that the government considers digital risks high priority. In the area of training, efforts need to be enhanced particularly for those who are most likely going to legally handle cybersecurity crimes given that less than half the member states (43 per cent) have capacity-building programmes for law enforcement and the judicial system.”

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