GENEVA: Singapore has a better overall cybersecurity approach than the US and other wealthy countries, a UN survey showed on Wednesday (Jul 5).
The survey by the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) rated Singapore as top in the world based on its legal, technical and organisational institutions, educational and research capabilities and cooperation in information-sharing networks.
"The island state has a long history of cybersecurity initiatives. It launched its first cybersecurity master plan back in 2005. The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore was created in 2015 as a dedicated entity to oversee cybersecurity and the country issued a comprehensive strategy in 2016," the report noted.
Meanwhile, many other rich countries have holes in their defences and some poorer countries are showing them how it should be done, the survey found, noting that wealth breeds cybercrime, but it does not automatically generate cybersecurity.
"There is still an evident gap between countries in terms of awareness, understanding, knowledge and finally capacity to deploy the proper strategies, capabilities and programmes," it added.
The United States came second in the ITU's Global Cybersecurity Index, but many of the other highly rated countries were small or developing economies.
The rest of the top 10 were Malaysia, Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France and Canada. Russia ranked 11th. India was 25th, one place ahead of Germany, and China was 34th.
"Cybersecurity is an ecosystem where laws, organisations, skills, cooperation and technical implementation need to be in harmony to be most effective," the survey said.
"The degree of interconnectivity of networks implies that anything and everything can be exposed, and everything from national critical infrastructure to our basic human rights can be compromised."
The crucial first step was to adopt a national security strategy, but 50 per cent of countries have none, the survey said.
Among the countries that ranked higher than their economic development was 57th-placed North Korea, which was let down by its "cooperation" score but still ranked three spots ahead of much-richer Spain.
The smallest rich countries also scored badly - Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino were all well down the second half of the table. The Vatican ranked 186th out of 195 countries in the survey.
But no country did worse than Equatorial Guinea, which scored zero.