The UN is worried about cybersecurity – they should be

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a division of the United Nations, recently released their Global Cybersecurity Index for 2017. The report looks at the ability of countries to defend themselves against major cyberattacks – which include shutting down power grids and freezing communications in hospitals.

The agency reports that “there is still an evident gap between countries in terms of awareness, understanding, knowledge and finally capacity to deploy the proper strategies, capabilities and programmes [sic] to ensure a safe and appropriate use of [information and communication technology] as enablers for economic development.”

Reviewing the cybersecurity policies of 193 nations while considering legal, technical, organizational, capacity building and cooperation aspects, the ITU ranked the following as the 10 most prepared countries in the world:

  1. Singapore
  2. United States of America
  3. Malaysia
  4. Oman
  5. Estonia
  6. Mauritius
  7. Australia
  8. Georgia
  9. France
  10. Canada

And since you’re probably wondering who ranks in the 10 worst, they are:

  1. Equatorial Guinea
  2. Yemen
  3. Central African Republic
  4. Dominica
  5. Tuvalu
  6. Timor-Leste
  7. Somalia
  8. Guinea-Bissau
  9. Comoros
  10. Vatican

There is obviously a discrepancy in terms of wealth between these nations, but it is still worrying to see that those considered to be the most prepared are nevertheless highly vulnerable to attacks.

While the United States ranks second best, it still faces a load of problems. We need only to think of the Sony hacks, the election scandals, and the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks to know that the government should not be slapping its own back in satisfaction.

One in 131 emails sent around the world are malicious and 15% or more of businesses in the top 10 industry sectors have been attacked. Global ransomware damages are predicted to exceed $5 billion in 2017.

It’s time for countries to develop better cybersecurity contingency plans. Until they do, companies and individuals need to do everything they can to ensure that their own data is well protected.

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