UN: Half of all countries lack cybersecurity strategy



Only about half of all countries in the world have a cybersecurity strategy or are in the process of developing one, and even the world's most powerful countries show major gaps in their preparedness for cyberattacks, according to a UN report released on Wednesday.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) unveiled the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) 2017 on Wednesday, a continuation of the first version that was issued in 2014.

It measures ITU member states' commitment to cybersecurity, hoping to motivate them to improve their cybersecurity and raise awareness for the need to start bilateral, multilateral and international cooperation.

Top ten most committed countries, in terms of GCI scores

The report said only about 38 percent of the countries have a published cybersecurity strategy, while an additional 12 percent are in the process of developing one.

Singapore tops the index list for its long history of cybersecurity initiatives. It launched its first cybersecurity master plan back in 2005, and created a dedicated Cyber Security Agency in 2015.

In 2016 Singapore issued a comprehensive strategy to tackle online security issues.

Cybersecurity strategy and training commitments among the 193 member states surveyed.

Besides Singapore, the rest of the top 10 include the US, Malaysia, Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France and Canada.

The survey finds that despite the massive gap in wealth, developing countries like Malaysia and Oman are stronger in cybersecurity than some developed ones such as France and Canada.

Surprisingly, less developed Estonia has a better cybersecurity commitment than more developed France.

There's also a major gap in cybersecurity among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. The US was ranked No. 2, France No. 8, Russia No. 10, the UK No. 12, and China, No. 32.

The index also shows the improvement and strengthening of the five pillars of the ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda: legal, technical, organizational, capacity building and international cooperation.

February 4, 2016: A computer screen at the National engineering elite school of Bretagne-Sud cybersecurity center in Vannes, western France.

"Cybersecurity is an increasingly important part of our life today, and the degree of interconnectivity of networks implies that anything and everything can be exposed, and everything from national critical infrastructure to our basic human rights can be compromised," the report concluded.

Last year alone, nearly one percent of all emails sent were essentially malicious attacks, the highest rate in recent years, according to the ITU. Last month a cyberattack crippled tens of thousands of machines around the world and it is still unclear who was behind the attack.