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Oman ITA hosts National Cyber Drill

Drill tests Oman government organisation's cybersecurity response capabilities

Oman ITA hosts National Cyber Drill
The National Cyber Drill is intended to test the skills of security professionals in Oman government.

Oman's Information Technology Authority (ITA) is holding the country's third National Cyber Drill this week.

The drill, which began yesterday and continues for three days, is intended to prepare government cybersecurity personnel to handle security incidents.

The event is being organised by the ITA, represented by Oman NationaCert, in cooperation with the EITU/Arab Regional Cyber Security Center.

More than 115 IT professionals from 28 government entities, including specialists from the finance, telecommunication, energy, government, oil & gas, transportation, aviation and health sectors are participating.

The National cyber drill is conducted to expose the participants from cybersecurity professionals including incident response teams to various scenarios based on case studies and real-life situations, which provides them with an opportunity to test their skills and knowledge in responding to attacks. The objective of this drill is to enhance communication, team work, and participating teams' incident response capabilities to ensure continued collective efforts against cyber threats.

Engineer Bader Ali Alsalhi, DG, Oman National CERT said in his opening speech: "Considering the cyberattacks that occurred over the past few years and targeted some of the organisations, it is very clear that such attacks are drastically increasing. According to the latest statistics by Symantec, it indicates that there is a growing increase in cyberattacks that target and block websites on a daily basis. In 2015, the cyberattacks were estimated at 1.1 million whereas in 2014, there were only 493,000 cyber-attacks.

"Beside cyberattacks, government and private organisations incurred big financial losses due to the exposure to malicious ransomware that prevent authorised users from accessing personal files and data because such malicious software encrypt files and use strong encryption algorithms. As Symantec also indicates that government and private organizations are increasingly facing the threat of malicious ransomware by 35% in 2015, more than the previous years to reach up to 362,000 equivalent to 992 cases every day. This what pushes us to shed light on enhancing cybersecurity readiness and train and empower human resources to deal and address cybersecurity incidents which might affect government and critical organisations in the Sultanate."

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