In its latest Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has released the index shows a growing commitment worldwide to tackle and reduce cybersecurity threats.
Each country’s development is assessed along the five strategic pillars of the Union’s Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA): Legal Measures, Technical Measures, Organisational Measures, Capacity Building, and International Cooperation. This is then aggregated into an overall score. The current assessment covers the 2019-2020 period and reflects data collected during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The newly released 2020 index indicates that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, countries are working to improve their cyber safety since there is a shift of everyday activities and socio-economic services into the digital sphere.
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said, “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.”
“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,” he added.
GCI 2020, the index’s fourth iteration, measures the cybersecurity commitments of 193 ITU Member States and the State of Palestine. It aims to identify gaps, serve as a roadmap to guide national strategies, inform legal frameworks, build capacity, highlight good practices, strengthen international standards, and foster a culture of cybersecurity.
The index showed that 64 per cent of countries had adopted a national cybersecurity strategy (NCS) by year-end, while more than 70 per cent conducted cybersecurity awareness campaigns in 2020, compared to 58 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively, in 2018.
Despite the notable improvements, there are still some challenges that must be addressed.
Many countries and regions lag in critical areas. These include cybersecurity skills training, critical infrastructure protection, individual data protection, growing reliance on digital solutions necessitates ever stronger yet also accessible and user-friendly data protection measures.
Countries with high cyber capabilities may therefore need to support others, such as Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs).
On the international front, the United States ranked number one, followed by the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, both in second place.
Top 10 countries in Global Cybersecurity Index
In Africa, Mauritius ranked top but was 17th on the global ranking. Egypt was second in Africa, followed by Ghana.
Top 10 African countries in Global Cybersecurity Index
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of over 900 companies, universities, and international and regional organizations. It was established over 150 years ago.