As more and more devices and systems become connected to the internet, the world becomes increasingly prone to cyberattacks. There have been two major global attacks already this year as of writing this. A massive cyberattack in May caused major disruptions to companies and hospitals in over 150 countries, prompting a call for greater cooperation around the world.
So how do you enable the benefits of the internet of things, and always on connectivity, but protect users and organizations? The global community is increasingly embracing information, communications and technology (ICT) as key enabler for social and economic development. Governments across the world recognize that digital transformation has the power to further the prosperity and wellbeing of their citizens. In supporting this transformation, they also recognize that cybersecurity must be an integral and indivisible part of technological progress.
In 2016, nearly one percent of all emails sent were essentially malicious attacks, the highest rate in recent years. Ransomware attacks increasingly affected businesses and consumers, with indiscriminate campaigns pushing out massive volumes of malicious emails. Attackers are demanding more and more from victims, with the average ransom demand rising to over 1,000 USD in 2016, up from approximately 300 USD a year earlier.
With this in mind, the ITU (International Telecommunication Union), the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technology, has published the Global Cybersecurity Index 2017 (GCI-2017), which measures the commitment of ITU’s 193 member states to cybersecurity and is the second in this index series.
The GCI-2017 measures countries’ commitment to cybersecurity and helps them to identify areas for improvement. Through the information collected, it aims to illustrate the practices in use so that ITU member states can identify gaps and implement selected activities suitable to their national environment – with the added benefits of helping to harmonize practices and fostering a global culture of cybersecurity.
“At ITU, we are committed to making the Internet more secure, safer and trustworthy, for the benefit of all,” said Houlin Zhao, ITU secretary general. “While the impact generated by cyber-attacks, such as those carried out as recently as 27 June 2017, may not be eliminated completely, prevention and mitigation measures to reduce the risks posed by cyber-related threats can and should always be put in place. The GCI reaffirms ITU’s commitment to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs.”
In addition to showing the overall cybersecurity commitment, the index also shows the improvement and strengthening of all GCI indicators, which are defined by the five pillars of the ITU global cybersecurity agenda as: legal, technical, organizational, capacity building and international cooperation.
The GCI-2017 also shows that there is space for further improvement in cooperation at all levels, capacity building and organizational measures. Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, said, “We continue to encourage governments to consider national policies that take into account cybersecurity so that everyone can reap the benefits of the online world.”
The full 78-page report with methodologies, key findings, global and regional reports, can be downloaded at this link.