As the types of online banking transactions increase so do chances of cyber frauds. The convenience of doing transactions through computers or smartphones brings with it the risk of succumbing to fraudsters prowling the Net looking for the unwary. In the context it is appropriate that the Central Bank of Oman (CBO) has directed the Sultanate’s banks build sufficient safeguards into their banking system to prevent data theft and cyber fraud. As Internet penetration increases the world over, more human activities go online. The Sultanate has achieved a high degree of Internet penetration with a world-class network. This is encouraging more people to use the Net for carrying out transactions. The efficacy of online technologies is bringing in more online users. While the citizens and residents of the Sultanate have been reaping the dividends of the best in technology, they also have to be aware of the perils of indiscreet use of technology. It is true that technologies have increased efficiencies in many spheres of human activity. Many day-to-day tasks have become easy and people are able to do many things without stirring out of their couch. No wonder that the cyber world is intertwined with the real one and what affects online activities affects real life too. Cyber world is somewhat a reflection of what is obtaining in real world. Therefore, it is natural that criminals show up there too just as frequently as elsewhere. That is why CBO chief HE Hamoud Bin Sangour Al Zadjali’s cautionary words assume real importance.
Zadjali has asked banks to take stringent measures to prevent exploitation of customer data and curb spread of cybercrime. Of course it is necessary that the banks provide a secure online banking environment. Cyber security is a set of technical and administrative processes used to prevent unauthorised retrieval of electronic information and the misuse of such information. It is reassuring for bank customers to see that the authorities are on their toes in protecting the interests of the customers. The meticulous steps that the authorities have taken to ensure security of the banking have resulted in the fairly high level of confidence that the customers have in the commercial banks of the nation. At a time when other nations are struggling to tackle cyber crimes, the Sultanate is well on a path of adopting foolproof laws to make the cyber world free of crimes. The authorities are looking at special laws that can prevent online crimes, as Public Prosecutor HE Hussein Bin Ali Al Hilali said. The Sultanate was among the first nations to come up with effective provisions in Information Technology Crimes Act (12/2011) and the Telecommunication Laws Regulation (30/2002) besides legal provisions in the Penal Code to curb cyber crimes. The efficiency with which the banks replaced old magnetic strip bank cards by chip-and-pin cards was a major step in the right direction to improve online banking security. The timely steps that the authorities have initiated ensure proper banking security. It is necessary to ensure a high level of confidence in the nation’s banking system to attract more investments and financial stability.