America tops ITU's Global Cyber Security Index

The United Nations International Telecommunication Union's 2020 Global Cyber Security Index ranks nations using 82 questions created by a panel of experts.

The United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published its 2020 Global Cyber Security Index (GCI 2020) and listed the US first in overall ranking, followed by a tie for second place tie between the UK and Saudi Arabia.

The index ranks nations using 82 questions developed by a panel of experts. ITU members are asked to nominate a person to participate in the process, and the organisation conducts desk research on nations that choose not to play. All ITU members are then ranked on a 100-point scale. The higher the rank, the more committed the country is to cybersecurity defence.

The latest index shows a growing commitment around the world to tackle and reduce cybersecurity threats and that countries are working to improve their cyber safety despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the rapid shift of everyday activities and socio-economic services into the digital sphere.

According to GCI 2020, around half of countries globally say they have formed a national computer incident response team (CIRT), indicating an 11 per cent increase since 2018. Rapid uptake of information and communication technologies (ICTs) during the COVID-19 pandemic has put cybersecurity at the forefront.

“In these challenging times, the unprecedented reliance on ICTs to drive society, economy and industry, makes it more important than ever before to secure cyberspace and build confidence among users," said ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao. “Governments and industry need to work together to make ICTs consistently safe and trustworthy for all. The Global Cybersecurity Index is a key element, offering a snapshot of the opportunities and gaps that can be addressed to strengthen every country's digital ecosystem."

Estonia ranked third in the index, South Korea, Singapore and Spain tied in fourth, while Russia, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia shared fifth, followed by Lithuania, Japan, Canada, France and India. India rose from 47th place to tenth.

Positive findings from the Index included the number of governments that formed a national computer incident response team (CIRT) rose by 11 per cent since 2018, meaning around half of ITU members now have a CIRT (or CERT). Sixty-four per cent have adopted a national cybersecurity strategy (NCS), up from 58 per cent, and 70 per cent conducted cybersecurity awareness campaigns in 2020, up from 66 percent. Thirty-eight nations scored 90 per cent or better.

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