With so much of our information (including incredibly personal data) being found online, cybersecurity is of the utmost importance.
So just where in the world are you cyber safe – if anywhere?
Our study looked at 60 countries and found huge variances in a number of categories, from malware rates to cybersecurity-related legislation. In fact, not one country is “top of the class” across the board. All of the countries we analyzed could do with some significant improvements.
However, there were some countries that lacked significantly in a variety of areas and others who outperformed the majority of countries. So with that in mind, we’ve created rankings for these 60 countries, from the least cyber safe to the most cyber safe.
Our methodology: how did we find the countries with the worst cybersecurity?
We considered seven criteria, each of which had equal weight in our overall score. These were:
- The percentage of mobiles infected with malware – software designed to gain unauthorized access to, destroy, or disrupt a device’s system
- The percentage of computers infected with malware – software designed to gain unauthorized access to, destroy, or disrupt a computer’s system
- The number of financial malware attacks – malicious programs created to steal a user’s money from the bank account on their computer system
- The percentage of telnet attacks (by originating country) – the technique used by cybercriminals to get people to download a variety of malware types
- The percentage of attacks by cryptominers – software that’s developed to take over a user’s computer and use its resources to mine currency (without the user’s permission)
- The best-prepared countries for cyber attacks
- The countries with the most up-to-date legislation
Apart from the latter two, all of the scores were based on the percentage of attacks during 2018. The best-prepared countries for cyber attacks were scored using the Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) scores. The most up-to-date legislation was scored based on existing legislation (and drafts) that covered seven categories (national strategy, military, content, privacy, critical infrastructure, commerce, and crime). Countries received a point for having legislation in a category or half a point for a draft.
For each criterion, the country was given a point based on where it ranked between the highest-ranking and lowest-ranking countries. Countries with the least cyber-secure scores were given 100 points, while countries with the most cyber-secure scores were allocated zero points. All of the countries in between these two scores received a score on a percentile basis, depending on where they ranked.
The total score was achieved by averaging each country’s score across the seven categories.
All of the data used to create this ranking system is the latest available, and we have only included countries where we could cover all of the data points.
Which is the least cyber-secure country in the world?
According to our study, Algeria is the least cyber-secure country in the world. It was the highest-ranking country for lack of legislation and computer malware rates, and also received a high score in the categories for mobile malware and preparation for cyber attacks.
Other high-ranking countries were Indonesia, Vietnam, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan.
Some countries ranked at the top of one category but did better in others, improving their overall score. Germany received the highest score for financial malware, and China received the highest score as the country where most telnet attacks originated from.
The highest-scoring countries per category were:
- Highest percentage of mobile malware infections – Bangladesh – 35.91% of users
- Highest number of financial malware attacks – Germany – 3% of users
- Highest percent of computer malware infections – Algeria – 32.41%
- Highest percentage of telnet attacks (by originating country) – China – 27.15%
- Highest percentage of attacks by cryptominers – Uzbekistan – 14.23% of users
- Least prepared for cyber attacks – Vietnam – 0.245 score
- Worst up-to-date legislation for cybersecurity – Algeria – 1 key category covered
Which is the most cyber-secure country in the world?
Our findings revealed Japan to be the most cyber-secure country in the world. It scored incredibly low across the majority of categories, only scoring a little higher in the preparation for cyber attacks and legislation categories.
Other top-performing countries included France, Canada, Denmark, and the United States.
As before, some countries scored well in one category but had other scores that brought their average up. These include Ukraine, which had the lowest financial malware rate, and Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, and Algeria, which had the lowest telnet attack scores.
The lowest-scoring countries per category were:
- Lowest percentage of mobile malware infections – Japan – 1.34% of users
- Lowest number of financial malware attacks – Ukraine – 0.3% of users
- Lowest percent of computer malware infections – Denmark – 5.9% of users
- Lowest percentage of telnet attacks (by originating country) – Algeria, Uzbekistan, and Sri Lanka – 0.01%
- Lowest percentage of attacks by cryptominers – Denmark – 0.61% of users
- Best prepared for cyber attacks – Singapore – 0.925 score
- Most up-to-date legislation for cybersecurity – France, China, Russia, and Germany – all 7 categories covered
Overall cybersecurity rankings (from the worst to the best)
|Rank||Country||Score||Percentage of Mobiles Infected with Malware||Financial Malware Attacks (% of Users)||Percentage of Computers Infected with Malware||Percentage of Telnet Attacks by Originating Country (IoT)||Percentage of Attacks by Cryptominers||Best Prepared for Cyberattacks||Most Up-to-Date Legislation|
|23||United Arab Emirates||36.88||9.14||1.9||20.7||0.09||2.99||0.566||4|
What can we take away from these findings?
Despite some countries having clear strengths and weaknesses, there is definite room for improvement in each and every one. Whether they need to strengthen their legislation or users need help putting better protections in place on their computers and mobiles, there’s still a long way to go to make our countries cyber secure.
Plus, as the landscape of cybersecurity constantly changes (cryptominers are growing in prevalence, for example), countries need to try and get one step ahead of cybercriminals.