According to the recent Global Cybersecurity Index of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Estonia is ranked 5th in the world.

The ranking is shared with Brazil, India, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the UK. The US is ranked first, with Canada ranked second.

The top three also includes Australia, Malaysia and Oman – all sharing the third ranking. Our Finnish northern neighbours are ranked 8th and our Latvian neighbours in the south are ranked 7th.

Raul Rikk, Programme Director for Cybersecurity of the e-Governance Academy, stated that the ranking constitutes a positive recognition for Estonia. “The fifth ranking is an excellent result since Estonia generally ranks between 15 to 20 in global information society indexes”, said Rikk. However, Rikk also claimed that the rankings are fairly surprising, with many countries that are ordinarily not considered to be information society powerhouses leading the rankings.

According to Rikk, this is the first attempt by the ITU to globally evaluate the cybersecurity situation in countries. “The current methodology of the ITU focuses on quantitative indicators rather than quality. In other words, it is measured whether certain documents, organisations and rules of procedure exist or not. The index does not evaluate the content, quality and impact of the measures. This has led to instances where a country whose formal paperwork is in order has been ranked higher than countries where actual cybersecurity measures are applied more efficiently,” explained Rikk.

Rikk said that the current objective of the ITU is improving the global cybersecurity culture rather than providing an actual overview of the cybersecurity situation in countries. “This index aims to improve the cybersecurity awareness of decision-makers and draw attention to the need to improve cybersecurity on a systematic basis”, he noted.

At the end of the last year, the e-Governance Academy proposed an idea to compose an international security index of information societies under the aegis of Estonia that would serve as an alternative for the ITU index.

Raul Rikk is of the opinion that such an initiative would be very relevant – there are several indexes for measuring information society development, and several of such indexes would also be needed for measuring cybersecurity. “Diversity of opinion is imperative for finding out the truth”, stated Rikk.

The e-Governance Academy has already commenced work on the international cybersecurity index project. The first results are expected before the summer.

Further information on the ITU index results: http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Cybersecurity/Pages/GCI.aspx