MUSCAT – Cyber blackmail cases in the Sultanate have reached an average 100 cases a month during the first half of 2019.
Out of a total of 607 electronic blackmails, people in the age group between 15 and 45 years have been the victims of majority of the cases, points out a report from the Information Technology Authority (ITA), Oman.
While 53 per cent of the registered cases are targeted at men, women constituted the rest. In 2018, the total number of cases relating to cybercrimes stood at 1,414 against 1,479 in the previous year.
All the sectors of the society need to unite to address this global issue which is spreading targeting all segments, said the report.
The ITA strives to eliminate cyber blackmail incidents either through awareness programmes throughout the year or dealing with all blackmail complaints received by the Oman National Computer Emergency Readiness Team (OCERT).
The specialists at the centre advise the callers on the technical aspects and refer many of the cases to the law enforcement agencies in accordance with the seriousness of the cases, the report said.
The Sultanate is among the top three Arab countries in the Gulf region along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2018-19 rankings.
The Omani law defines blackmail as threatening and compelling a person to do any act or wrong doing against his/her will, with some form of punishment if he/she does not fulfil the request.
It makes the tracking process difficult, in addition to poor facilities in some countries and the strong potential of the gangs and their influence in the cases, it points out.
The ITA advised all social media users to have clear information about the proper use of these channels and how to protect themselves from being trapped in blackmail. They are also advised not to share any data or personal photos with strangers.
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