Oman to be regional cyber security hub

Muscat - 

Oman’s National Computer Emergency Readiness Team (OCERT) has been chosen as the regional centre for cyber security for 21 countries across the Arab region in a move that will boost Oman's position in the e-security sector, according to officials at the Information Technology Authority (ITA).

Recognising the role played by ITA, represented by OCERT, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Saturday between OCERT and IMPACT (The International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber Threat), which is the cyber security arm of the United Nations’ specialised agency International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The MoU was signed in cooperation with ITU.

Officials at the ceremony said that one of the key objectives of the centre would be to assist in developing cyber security initiatives and encourage research throughout the region.

“Hosting this regional centre here in Oman will enhance initiatives and the level of e-security in the sultanate, in addition to enhancing the prestige of the sultanate globally in this vital area, especially with the rapid development of information technology and communications, and associated risks of electronic transactions,” said ITA CEO Salim al Ruzaiqi.

“The return on investment is in the classification of Oman as a major regional security hub in the Arab region and serving to enhance economic development in the sultanate. Potentially, this will also attract key foreign investors who are looking to work with high value nations.”

Eng Bader Ali Salehi, director of OCERT and head of the new centre, said that the decision would position the sultanate as a 'key cyber security hub,' and recognised the role the country has played in combating threats in the past.

“OCERT has been active in hosting and participating in conferences, workshops and cyber security exercises. It also actively promotes cyber security in the region through initiatives like cyber security training and awareness campaigns, including child online protection programmes, and developing in-house technical tools for monitoring the cyber space against threats and security risks.”

Speaking after the announcement, Datuk Mohammed Noor Amin, chairman of IMPACT, said they were happy to establish ITU-IMPACT’s first Cyber Security Innovation Centre in Oman. “This certainly lays a strong foundation for increased cyber security cooperation within the region and helps position the centre, and indeed Oman itself, as a regional cyber security hub.”

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