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UK tops ITU’s global cyber security index

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The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has ranked the UK as the country most committed to cyber security in its annual 'Global Cybersecurity Index'.

The ITU – the UN agency dedicated to information and communications technologies – has been publishing a cybersecurity index since 2007. The index ranks the legal, technical, organisational, cooperative and capacity building efforts the 194 ITU member states make to cyber defences.

In 2018, 58 per cent of ITU member states reported having a national cyber-security strategy, a significant increase on the previous year (50 per cent). Cyber-crime legislation is well-implemented around the globe, with 91 per cent of countries having cyber-crime legislation, an increase on the 79 per cent with legislation in 2017.

“But laws should not be adopted and left redundant, governments need to use laws as a framework to implement strategies that ensure government ICT initiatives are sustainable […] and enhancing cybersecurity,” the ITU report said.

The most cyber-conscientious countries were ranked as the UK, US, France, Lithuania, Estonia, Singapore, Spain, Malaysia, Norway, and Canada. Australia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Saudi and Japan follow. Mauritius, Kenya and Rwanda were the countries in Africa most committed to cyber security, according to the Global Cybersecurity Index.


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In the UK, the National Crime Agency leads and coordinates the fight against cyber crime, working with other public bodies such as the National Cyber Security Centre, which began operations in 2016. According to the ITU, collaboration with the Europol European Cybercrime Centre and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce has allowed UK authorities to identify and shut down major cyber-crime operations, including a website linked to four million DDoS attacks globally (including against the largest UK banks).

There continues to be a wide gap in commitment to cyber security across regions of the world, with European countries most committed to cyber security and African countries less well-prepared to confront cyber crime and cyber attacks backed by hostile foreign powers.

“A gap is evident between countries in terms of awareness, understanding, knowledge and capacity to deploy appropriate strategies,” the report said. “With cyber security taking centre stage globally, it is imperative that nations all over the world implement solutions to provide a safe space for Internet users in their country and stay engaged to improvement according to the incoming challenges.

“The ongoing threats highlight an urgent need for cooperation among [ITU] Member States to mitigate cyber-security issues such as cyber crime, cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and offensive operations. Emerging cyber threats could precipitate massive economic and societal damage and international efforts need to be agreed and acted upon in response to this new trend.”

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