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Cybersecurity: Oman third in Arabia

30 Jun 2021

Oman is ranked third in the Arab world and 21st globally in the latest Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 

The GCI ranks 193 countries in the 2020 edition where Oman has risen from a total score of 86.8 points in the 2018 index to 96.04 points in the current index. Despite the progress, the sultanate has fallen five places in the global ranking compared to the last version, when it was ranked 16th overall. 

The GCI  is a trusted reference that measures the commitment of countries to cybersecurity at a global level – to raise awareness of the importance and different dimensions of the issue. As cybersecurity has a broad field of application, cutting across many industries and various sectors, each country’s level of development or engagement is assessed along five pillars – Legal Measures, Technical Measures, Organisational Measures, Capacity Development, and Cooperation – and then aggregated into an overall score.

The index describes the areas of Legal Measures, Organisational Measures and Capacity Development in Oman as relative strengths, while the area of Technical Measures has potential of growth. 

In the GCC, Saudi Arabia leads with a 2nd world rank, followed by UAE at 5th place, Oman 21st, Qatar 27th, Bahrain 60th  and Kuwait 65th. 

The latest GCI shows a growing commitment around the world to tackle and reduce cybersecurity threats. 

Countries are working to improve their cyber safety despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the rapid shift of everyday activities and socio-economic services into the digital sphere, the newly released 2020 index confirms. 

According to GCI 2020, around half of the countries globally say they have formed a national computer incident response team, indicating an 11 per cent increase since 2018. Rapid uptake of information and communication technologies (ICTs) during the COVID-19 pandemic has put cybersecurity at the forefront.

“In these challenging times, the unprecedented reliance on ICTs to drive society, economy and industry, makes it more important than ever before to 

secure the cyberspace and build confidence among users,” said Houlin Zhao, secretary general of ITU. 

“Governments and industry need to work together to make ICTs consistently safe and trustworthy for all. GCI is a key element, offering a snapshot of the opportunities and gaps that can be addressed to strengthen every country’s digital ecosystem.”

Some 64 per cent of countries had adopted a national cybersecurity strategy by year-end, while more than 70 per cent conducted cybersecurity awareness campaigns in 2020, compared to 58 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively, in 2018.

Yet despite notable improvements, gaps in cyber capacity persist. Many countries and regions lag in key areas. These include cybersecurity skills training; finance, healthcare, energy and other key sectors, which require dedicated measures to close cybersecurity gaps; critical infrastructure protection; and individual data protection.

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