The recent wannacry ransomware threatened businesses around the world, sent governments into disarray and nearly brought the NHS to its knees. But maybe something good has come of it. By attacking public sector institutions, the WannaCry virus catapulted the issue of cybersecurity up the rungs of political importance and into the public eye.
Questions of commitment were instantly asked by politicians, journalists and most importantly the public, as the WannaCry post-mortem got underway. So how does the UK stack up against other nations in its commitment to cybersecurity? And is it doing enough to ensure its virutal boarders aren’t breached again?
According the the 2017 Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) published by the International Telecommunication Union, the UK is the 12th most committed country in the world, and the fourth in Europe, to ensuring cybersecurity measures are taken.
“According to the report, the UK is very active in promoting cybersecurity best practices as it issued its second five-year National Cyber Security Strategy in 2016 and is developing new initiatives to combat cybercrime,” one researcher at ITU said. “In comparison with other countries, the UK performed really well in four areas of the GCI: Legal, Technical, Organisational and Capacity building measures.”
She added: “Countries that scored higher than the UK had provided evidence of greater commitment towards cooperation with other member states and international agreements covering cybersecurity.”
So there you have it. The UK is doing its bit but it is struggling to work well with other countries.
Top 10: Most committed to tackling cybercrime
2. United States
* The UK was ranked 12th
Ranked 12th overall, the UK’s commitment to tackling cybercrime was bolstered in 2016 with the government announcing its second five-year National Cyber Security Strategy. In particular, the strategy aims to make the UK one of the safest places in the world for online business by doubling investment in cybersecurity compared to the first plan. The UK is also working closely with Netcraft to combat phishing and malware. The partnership helped stop 34,550 potential attacks on government departments in the last six months of 2016.
Ranked second overall, the USA has the highest scores for its commitment to legal issues and capacity building. Close behind, Canada ranks second in the region with its strong focus on implementing cybersecurity legislation. Mexico comes in third and is among four Central and South American countries included in the global top 50, with Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia also scoring highly. At the other end of the scale Honduras, Haiti and Dominica come up short in their commitment to bolstering cybersecurity.
With seven of the bottom ranked 10 countries coming from Africa, the continent is widely regarded as the least committed to tackling cybercrime. Equatorial Guinea came in last position, with the Central African Republic close behind. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. Mauritius is the top ranked country in the Africa region and comes in as the sixth most committed in the world. It scores particularly high in the legal and technical areas, with its Botnet Tracking and Detection project allowing the Computer Emergency Response Team of Mauritius (CERT-MU) to proactively take measures to curtail threats on different networks within the country. Rwanda and Kenya are also frontrunners in the continent.
Estonia is the highest-ranking nation in the European region, after it bolstered its cybersecurity commitment following a nationwide attack in 2007. The country also hosts the headquarters of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. In second and third place resepectively, France and Norway are hot on cybersecurity with the UK ranked fourth. France is credited with having a large focus on cybersecurity training, with dozens of universities providing degrees on the subject. Meanwhile, Norway works with its Scandinavian neighbours – Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden – as part of CERT to tackle security issues. At the other end of the scale, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Andorra and the Vatican were ranked as Europe’s least committed countries to combatting cybercrime. The Vatican comes in at 161st of the 193 countries surveyed.
Asia and the Pacific
Singapore is the top ranked country in the world. The island has a long history of cybersecurity initiatives since launching its first cybersecurity master plan back in 2005. The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore was created in 2015 as a dedicated entity to oversee cybersecurity and the country issued a comprehensive strategy in 2016. Malaysia is ranked second in the Asia and the Pacific region and scores a perfect 100 on capacity building due to a range of education initiatives. Australia makes up the rostrum in the region with a particularly keen focus on providing technical skills to combat cybercrime.