India is ranked a high 23rd out of 165 nations in a global index that measures the commitment of nations across the world to cybersecurity. The second Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), released by the UN telecommunications agency International Telecommunication Union (ITU), said only about half of all countries have a cybersecurity strategy or are in the process of developing one and urged more countries to consider national policies to protect against cybercrime. India is ranked 23rd on the index with a score of 0.683 and has been listed in the “maturing” category, which refers to 77 countries that have developed complex commitments to cybersecurity and engage in cybersecurity programmes and initiatives. The index has been topped by Singapore with a 0.925 score.
The report said about 38 per cent of countries have a published cybersecurity strategy and an additional 12 per cent of governments are in the process of developing one. The agency said more effort is needed in this critical area, particularly since it conveys that governments consider digital risks high priority. “Cybersecurity is an ecosystem where laws, organisations, skills, cooperation and technical implementation need to be in harmony to be most effective,” stated the report, adding that cybersecurity is “becoming more and more relevant in the minds of countries’ decision makers.”
The top 10 most committed countries to cybersecurity are Singapore, United States, Malaysia, Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France and Canada. Russia is ranked 11th. In addition to showing the overall cybersecurity commitment of ITU’s 193 member-states, the Index also shows the improvement and strengthening of the five pillars of the ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda: legal, technical, organisational, capacity building and international cooperation. The threat is particularly worrying as in 2016, according to ITU, nearly one per cent of all emails sent were essentially malicious attacks, the highest rate in recent years.
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Last month, a cyberattack crippled tens of thousands of machines around the world. It is unclear who was behind the attack. “While the impact generated by cyberattacks, such as those carried out as recently as 27 June 2017, may not be eliminated completely, prevention and mitigation measures to reduce the risks posed by cyber-related threats can and should always be put in place,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.
The findings show that there is “space for further improvement in cooperation” at all levels, according to the report, which advocates for encouraging governments to consider national policies that take into account cybersecurity and encourage private citizens to make smart decisions online.