The Growing Threat Of Cybersecurity: Which Countries Are Most Prepared?

Cybersecurity has become a national priority for many countries. The accelerating pace of digitalization caused by the pandemic has resulted in an increased number of cybersecurity threats as our working and socializing habits become ever so digitized.

Over the course of the pandemic, as millions shifted to digital workspaces. National governments implemented more IoT-based protocols to assist healthcare systems and government entities, and the number of attacks suddenly skyrocketed. During the first half of 2020, cyberattacks increased by 17%, according to a Positive Technologies Cybersecurity Threatscape report.

Malicious online activity, ranging from malware and ransomware attacks to phishing protocols, has claimed billions in damages.

With the pace at which more users are coming online, and the growing landscape of remote work opportunities, cybersecurity will be an increasingly important issue for both organizations and national governments.

A number of countries have already poured billions into developing and implementing cybersecurity protocols that aim to counter any malicious cyber threats.

But even as governments are working to completely rid the globalized world of cybercrime, the process thereof is becoming increasingly challenging. In the last couple of months, several countries have reported a sudden spike in cyber security threats. The most recent, in Costa Rica, saw the Russian-linked Conti ransomware group infiltrate more than 27 government institutions.

Costa Rica isn’t the only country that’s seen a sharp increase in threats. Countries such as Peru, Greenland, and Zambia are all among the list of victims. More alarmingly, recent data by Anomali and The Harris Poll found that ransomware attacks impact at least 1 in 5 Americans.

Proper government intervention and cybersecurity policy is needed to circumvent the dangers of malicious online groups.

What is a Cybersecurity Threat?

By now, there’s a high chance you’ve already encountered or read about cybersecurity threats in the news and media. Even though these are becoming more commonplace, it’s good to have some idea of what a cyberthreat is and how to spot one.

Phishing

Phishing is oftentimes referred to as a socially engineered attack that is used in either the public domain or within a corporate environment. Phishing attacks occur when cyber hackers send users fraudulent messages in hopes the end user will share personal and sensitive information.

In January 2021, Google registered more than 2,145,013 phishing sites, a 27% increase year-over-year. Phishing attacks allow hackers to access a victim's software and personal files and are commonly shared via email.

If you already know how to identify a phishing email, it can help to improve your online security and safeguard personal information.

Ransomware

The last two years of the pandemic saw the biggest jump in malware-related attacks, with the number of attacks increasing by more than 435% as compared with 2019. The scale of these attacks has caused billions of dollars of damages, leaving businesses and government institutions vulnerable.

In December 2021, cyber terrorists launched more than 1.2 million ransomware attacks globally in four days through an open-source software named Log4J. The threat meant that companies had to increase their cybersecurity protocols immediately to protect personal information and data.

Cyber groups can launch a ransomware attack through web applications that can be accessed via the internet and web browsers or email servers. The Allianz Risk Barometer found that remote working and the disruption of digital supply chains and cloud platforms have the highest amount of risk for companies and governments.

Which Countries Face the Lowest Risk of Cyberattacks?

Both developing and developed nations have spent a decent amount of resources to help prepare digital and Information Technology infrastructure against potential cyberthreats.

Advances in digital legislation and progressive cybersecurity protocols have enabled several nations to increase resistance to cybersecurity exposure and raise their overall cyber safety score.

A report by SEON, a fraud detection software firm, recently published a list of the most low-risk countries in regards to cyber threats. According to their findings based on the national cybersecurity index, global cybersecurity index, exposure, and legislation, the lowest risk countries are:

1. Denmark

The Nordic people have for some time been ranked as the most prepared and cyber-sound country in the world, offering residents improved online protection and overall progressive digital legislation.

Back in 2018, the country launched the Danish Strategy for Cyber and Information Security 2018-2021, a three-year-long campaign to improve cybersecurity in telecommunication, finance, energy, healthcare, transportation, and maritime, according to the Danish Centre for Cyber Security.

Since then, the country has outranked many other nations, as its efforts have ensured increased online safety for both citizens and civil servants.

2. Germany

Germany has some of the most comprehensive laws and regulations when it comes to internet utilization. It’s no surprise that Germany has ranked as the second most cyber-secure nation in the world, as domestic legislation doesn’t even allow the use of Google Street View in the majority of the country.

In 2018, the European Union adopted the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, which helps to promote the German data discretion model.

3. United States

Strangely enough, even after the recent Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack which lasted a total of six days, and took down one of the largest fuel lines in the United States, the US still ranks as one of the most cyber-secure nations in the world.

America has some of the most sophisticated cybersecurity protocols currently in the world. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requested more than $2.6 billion for its cyber security budget in 2021, and more than $18.78 billion was spent throughout 2021 on cyber security programs.

4. Norway

While Norway doesn't spend nearly as much on cyber security software protocols as the U.S., the country does, however, have various cybersecurity institutions, and is part of a few important European cyber committees.

The Norwegian National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC), and the Norwegian Computer Emergency Response Team (NorCERT) are the two main government agencies. The country is also part of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), a member of the European Government CERTs (EGC) group, and the International Watch and Warning Network (IWWN), among others.

5. United Kingdom

In recent years, the United Kingdom has worked pretty hard to improve its internet infrastructure, helping to bolster overall safety and cybersecurity for both residents and the national government.

The country has launched various campaigns to help residents and organizations improve their online security, and uses interaction and guided information to help businesses establish a more refined cybersecurity protocol.

6. Canada

Before the invasion of Ukraine by neighboring Russia, Canada was one of the first few countries that managed to trace and flag cyberattacks from malware group HermeticWiper that were targeting Ukrainian organizations.

The country issued an alert to all associated parties and organizations and has since severely increased its cybersecurity infrastructure.

Furthermore, the country has also been working alongside domestic groups, both from the private and public sectors to help improve its current structures and help those that have been affected by the war in Ukraine.

7. Sweden

Sweden is perhaps one of the most progressive countries when it comes to cybersecurity. Back in 2016, the Nordic nation rapidly increased its efforts to improve and adopt new cyber security policies for the protection of residents’ personal information, data, and any other digital material available on the internet.

Moreso, the government was also able to identify deficiencies concerning its digital infrastructure, and a new plan was drawn up as early as 2014 to improve the overall structure and efficiency of the country’s Information Technology and digital framework.

Which Countries Face the Highest Risk of Cyberattacks

Results published by Statista found that more than half of 54% of global internet users have encountered some form of cybercrime in the last few years.

Countries including India, Brazil, the United States, New Zealand, and France are the top five ranking countries that have the highest cybercrime penetration rate.

Supplementary data by SEON also provided deeper insight into countries that currently ranked the lowest and least prepared for any form of cyberattack. In their data, Myanmar, Cambodia, Honduras, Bolivia, and Mongolia are among the top five countries with the highest risk of cybercrime exposure.

Even in some of the most advanced economies, cyber terrorism remains a prominent issue.

Development and innovation in these fields are perhaps still a long way off in nations that have seen a sharp rise in cyber threats in recent years, especially in countries where technologies and software markets have only recently started taking form.

Some countries are using various financial resources to develop programs that can help students, employees, and residents better understand the severity of cybercrime and what they can do to improve their digital experience.

Additionally, some countries are also pushing progressive digital policies, looking to rapidly improve their stance within the digital world and implement legislation that will help reduce digital crime and malicious online activity.

Some Final Thoughts

Our digital habits have given birth to a completely new generation of issues that have started to threaten our privacy and digital safety, both on a personal and governmental level.

For some countries, it’s perhaps easier to develop the necessary infrastructure that will help them veer off any type of cyberattack. Moreso, these countries are also able to improve their systems with a range of tightly knit legislation.

On the other hand, a decent amount of countries are facing severe risks of cyber terrorism, and unless improvements can be made, these countries will sooner or later realize the importance of investing in proper and advanced technological security systems and software the hard way.

There’s a lot we still need to learn about cybersecurity, but for now, it’s good to remain well-informed, and up to date with what your local government is doing to protect your digital footprint online.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Featured Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.


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