Cybersecurity: How the World Measures Up, Country by Country

Joe Hannan
JULY 05, 2017


As it pertains to cybersecurity threats, most of the world has its guard down.
 
That’s according to findings released today by the United Nations in its Global Cybersecurity Index. To formulate its report, the UN gauged commitment in 134 member countries to defend against cyberattacks, according to five pillars: technical, organizational, legal, cooperation and growth potential. Most countries, the report finds, have much room for improvement.
 
The UN’s analysis is being released amid a flurry of cyberattacks, with the most recent taking place in Ukraine. Another affected Merk in the US last month. Prior to that, the WannaCry attack knocked out England’s National Health Service.
 
To determine UN member states’ commitment to cybersecurity, the UN quizzed each with weighted questions in accordance with the previously mentioned pillars to determine an overall score. The results reveal an increasing commitment to cybersecurity throughout he world, the UN says.
 
“However, there is space for further improvement in cooperation at all levels, capacity building an organizational measures,” the report reads. “While commitment in Europe remains very high in the legal and technical fields in particular, the challenging situation in the Africa and Americas regions shows need for continued engagement and support.”
 
The 10 countries that lead in terms of their commitment to cybersecurity aren’t clustered in any one region. There’s one from Africa, one from the Arab states, one from the Commonwealth of Independent States, three from Asia and the Pacific, two from Europe and two from the Americas.
 
These are the 10 most committed countries, according to the UN.
  1. Singapore: This country tops the list with an overall weighted score of .92. The UN says that Singapore has maintained staunch security standards for years, initiating a security master plan in 2005. Singapore created a cybersecurity oversight agency in 2015 that oversees efforts for the entire country. The UN also notes that Singapore developed a comprehensive security strategy last year.
  2. United States: The U.S. holds the number-two spot with a .91 overall score. It leads the globe in the capacity building and cooperation categories due to its efforts to unify cybersecurity efforts among the states.
  3. Malaysia: The country comes in third overall, but second in the Asia and Pacific regions, with an overall score of .89. It has a perfect score in capacity building. This is due largely in part to Cybersecurity Malaysia, a government organization that offers cybersecurity training in higher education institutions.
  4. Oman: The UN says that Oman earned an overall score of .87. The country is the highest-ranked Arab state due to its “robust organizational structure” and “comprehensive roadmap.”
  5. Estonia: According to the UN, Estonia shows the most commitment to cybersecurity in the Europe region with its overall score of.84. This is due to improvement efforts following a 2007 attack there. Legislation in Estonia requires essential services to stay minimally operational if an attack cuts them off from the internet.
  6. Mauritius: This country shows the most commitment to cybersecurity in the Africa region, the UN says, with an overall score of .83. Mauritius has centralized its defense of its networks with the Botnet Tracking and Detection project. The country’s IT Security Unit has also taken steps to educate civil servants about various cybersecurity threats.
  7. Australia: Cited as one of the factors for its ranking, the UN says Australia has created a certification program for IT security skills via the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers. This organization provides IT security and education for corporations in Australia and New Zealand. Australia earned an overall score of .82.
  8. Georgia: The UN awarded Georgia an overall score of .81. Georgia is the top-ranked country among the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is in large part because of the country’s response to a 2008 cyberattack, after which it bolstered protection for its information systems.
  9. France: France also earned an overall score of .81. Notably, France earned a perfect score in capacity building due to its ubiquitous cybersecurity training.
  10. Canada: Canada, with its overall score of .81, is notable for its Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), the UN says. PIPEDA requires groups to notify authorities in the event of private data breaches. Failing to do so can result in stiff penalties. 
Related coverage
 
Hospitals Were Collateral Damage in Colossal Cyber Attack
 
Massive International Ransomware Attack Hits Merck, Pennsylvania Hospital
 

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