China rises ahead of New Zealand, Sweden in cybersecurity, UN body says

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China surpassed countries including Switzerland,  Ireland, New Zealand and Sweden in this year’s Global Cybersecurity Index, ranking 27th in the world. (Image credit: TechNode/Eliza Gkritsi)

China’s ranking on the 2019 Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) has improved to 27th place globally from 32nd last year despite a number of recently publicized data security lapses.

Why it matters: China’s cybersecurity practices have been scrutinized for years and local governments have been accused of neglecting basic principles.

Details: The index is compiled annually by the UN’s telecommunications body, the International Telecommunications Union. Rankings are based on scores calculated by assessing progress in the legal, technical, and organizational aspects of cybersecurity, in addition to international cooperation and capacity building, including research and development and training programs.

  • China scored 0.828, rising from 0.624 last year.
  • The index rates countries with a maximum of 1. This year, the UK ranked the highest with a score of 0.931.
  • The GCI takes into account 25 variables, such as public-awareness campaigns, regulatory and legal environment, training programs, and standardization bodies.
  • In the Asia-Pacific region, China ranked sixth behind by top-ranked Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, and South Korea.

Context: China’s quick rise as a technology powerhouse has left gaps in its cybersecurity practices, leading to data leaks and numerous compromised devices.

  • Beijing released a landmark cybersecurity law in 2017, pouring resources into catching up with leaders in cybersecurity like the US and UK.