Taiwan is the most cybersecurity prepared country in the world, with three other Asia-Pacific countries following close behind, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Cybersecurity Index.
Taiwan earned a perfect score of 1.0 in the index. It was followed by Singapore (0.925), the United States (0.919), Malaysia (0.893), Estonia (0.846) and Australia (0.824). The five top performers in Asia-Pacific had an average score of 0.8856, followed by Europe at 0.8044, the Americas at 0.6944 and Middle East/ Africa at 0.6608.
“Strong scores in this category in Asia are indicative of the fact that governments have put a lot of emphasis on building up their capabilities in this area — public policy measures are key to developing cyber-security,” said Emily Mansfield, Country Forecast Product Head at The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
“Africa and Latin America have the most room for improvement,” she said.
The EIU’s Preparing for Disruption: Technological Readiness Ranking, released June 5, drew from the findings of the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency, for the index. It includes measures of the legislative environment, technical standards, government strategy, public awareness building and intra-state co-operation.
The EIU said that “ensuring that sufficient cybersecurity measures are in place has become a priority for governments and a matter of concern for the corporate world.”
Cybersecurity preparedness is part of a broader study on digital economy infrastructure, which along with access to the internet and openness to innovation make up the Technological Readiness Ranking among 82 nations from 2018-2022.
Australia, Singapore and Sweden earned top places in the general categories.
The report mentioned the highly disruptive attacks in 2017 including the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks, the sustained attacks on Germany’s government networks early this year, and an attack on the US energy grid which it blamed on Russia.
Revelations of data breaches at social media networks, and the use of personal data for propaganda purposes, have also proliferated in recent years, the EIU said.
Estonia, which has long been the digital leader and cybersecurity leader in Europe and which has hosted NATO’s cybersecurity center since 2008, is expected to improve further.
Gains will be balanced out by declines in countries like Finland and Argentina, “where growth in the frequency and severity of cyber attacks is likely to outpace efforts to upgrade security,” the EIU said.
Cybersecurity programs will become increasingly crucial as cyberwarfare is seen to become more sophisticated and widespread.
Attacks will be carried out by both state-sponsored actors and criminal networks.
“Our concerns about this centre not just on the threat to consumer faith in the security of the internet, but also on the risk that cyber attacks could be used to damage physical infrastructure (such as energy grids), constrain government activities or influence democratic processes,” the report said.