•Country ranks 47th on global index
•ITU wants govts to block $6tr estimated loss to cybercrime in 2021
Nigeria has ranked 47th on the global cybersecurity index (GCI) 2020. This is even as the global telecoms body ranked Mauritius, Tanzania and Ghana respectively, ahead of Nigeria, in countries in Africa, tackling cybercrimes headlong.
The index examined the readiness of International Telecommunications Union (ITU) member countries in curbing the rising cybercrime.
The GCI, which ranked 182 countries, is ITU’s document that monitors countries’ growing commitment around the world in tackling and reducing cybersecurity threats.
GCI 2020, the index’s fourth iteration, measures the cybersecurity commitments of 193 ITU member states and the State of Palestine. It aimed 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 disclosed that countries are working to improve their cyber safety despite the challenges of COVID-19 and the rapid shift of everyday activities into the digital sphere.
According to GCI 2020, around half of countries globally said they have formed a national computer incident response team (CIRT), indicating an 11 per cent increase since 2018. The rapid uptake of information and communication technologies (ICTs) during the COVID-19 pandemic has put cybersecurity at the forefront.
The GCI ranked USA number one ahead of other countries with 100 per cent measures in tackling cybercrime menace across the globe. The United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia tied on second with 99.54 per cent each while Estonia ranked third with 99.48 per cent.
On the index, Mauritius, which leads Africa, shared 17th position with Norway at 96.89 per cent. On the list, Egypt is next for Africa, ranking 23rd with 95.48 per cent followed by Tanzania, which ranked 37th with 90.58 per cent, and Ghana is third at 43rd with 86.69 per cent. Tunisia followed Ghana with 86.23 per cent at 45th position, Nigeria is ranked 47th with 84.76 per cent.
ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao, affirmed that 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,” Zhao added.
According to the report, some 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 notable improvements, gaps in cyber capacity persist, according to ITU. The GCI revealed that many countries and regions lag in key areas. These include cybersecurity skills training, which must be tailored to the needs of citizens, micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs); finance, healthcare, energy, and other key sectors, which require dedicated measures to close cybersecurity gaps; critical infrastructure protection, which requires enhancement to meet new and evolving cyber threats and Individual data protection, which requires continual reinforcement as online activity expands.
According to the global body, growing reliance on digital solutions necessitates ever stronger, yet also accessible and user-friendly, data protection measures. The GCI noted that amid interconnected commerce and communication, cybersecurity risks are increasingly borderless, with no single entity or stakeholder able to guarantee the security of the global cyber ecosystem.
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).
Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, said: “This snapshot of the world’s commitment to cybersecurity is just a starting point for further discussions, interventions, and strides towards achieving global, regional and national cyber safety.
“I invite all ITU Member States to continue updating us on their progress on cybersecurity-related commitments so that we can effectively share experiences, research, and solutions to create a trusted cyberspace for all,” Bogdan-Martin stated.
Measuring the evolving cybersecurity landscape, ITU said about one billion people worldwide became Internet users for the first time between 2015 (when the first GCI was released) and 2019. With global losses due to cybercrime expected to reach $6 trillion this year, according to third-party data, citizens count on governments to enhance cybersecurity norms and protect increasingly exposed personal and financial data.
ITU has produced four GCI editions to date, providing periodic global snapshots of a rapidly evolving industry. With each iteration, the methodology has been adapted to shed more light on countries’ cybersecurity commitments.
According to the body, each country’s level of development or engagement is assessed based on five pillars of the ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda – legal measures, technical measures, organizational measures, capacity development and cooperation.