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China pushes past India in cybersecurity ranking in 2020 after lagging behind last year

UK-based Comparitech compared 76 countries on seven criteria to determine which nation was ahead in terms of cybersecurity.

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New Delhi: India was more cybersecure than China last year, but fell behind its eastern neighbour in the latest ranking, according to a study released Tuesday.

The rankings were published by Comparitech, a UK-based firm analysing technology-based products and services ranging from password managers, ID theft protection, anti-virus to internet providers.

Comparitech compared 76 countries in all, scoring them on a scale of 1-76, where 1 was the least cybersecure country and 76 the best. The inverted scoring system means the lower the score, the higher a country’s ranking and the better its cybersecurity.

India scored 15 in the 2019 ranking and moved up to 18 in the 2020 rankings. However, China, which scored 13 in 2019, improved its score to rank 23 this year, taking it ahead of India.

Also read: India was the most cyber-attacked country in the world for three months in 2019

Reading the scores

Comparitech listed seven criteria based on which countries were scored, with each criterion being given equal weight. They are:

  • percentage of mobile devices infected with malware
  • percentage of computers infected with malware
  • number of financial malware attacks
  • percentage of all telnet attacks by originating country
  • percentage of users attacked by cryptominers
  • best-prepared countries for cyber attacks
  • countries with the most up-to-date cybersecurity legislation

Apart from the last two criteria, the countries were scored based on the percentage of users attacked during the third quarter of 2019.

Each country was given a final numerical score which was an aggregate of all seven criteria scores.

Also read: As cyber attacks grow, regulator calls for firewalls at power grids across India

How India did, comparatively 

In the latest rankings, India’s percentage of mobiles infected with malware was 28.75. Algeria, which ranked the worst, scored 26.47, while China was 4.73.

On financial malware attacks, India scored 0.4, while Algeria was 0.5. and Denmark, the country with the best cybersecurity, scored 0.1. China was at 1.2.

As for the percentage of all telnet attacks by originating country (based on the number of unique IP addresses of devices used in the attacks — a technique used by cybercriminals to get people to download a variety of malware types), India scored 3.41 while China scored worse at 13.78.

At 11.74, India scored higher on malware-affected computers, while China scored lower at 9.65.

Source: Comparitech

How other countries did

Overall, Algeria is the least cybersecure and Denmark the most in the 2020 rankings.

Part of the problem for Algeria was its poor legislation framework to deal with cyber issues. In this criteria, the country scored 1 (the highest rank is 7 which France, China, Russia, and Germany scored).

The report notes Algeria has only one piece of legislation on privacy to deal with the area.

A high rate of malware infections and lack of readiness to deal with cyberattacks also put Algeria at bottom, a ranking it has retained from last year.

Algeria was followed by Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Syria, and Iran.

Countries that improved on their score from last year’s bad performance were Indonesia, Vietnam, Tanzania, and Uzbekistan.

Among the best performers are Denmark, followed by Sweden, Germany, Ireland and Japan.

Denmark experienced very few cyberattacks, boosting its low score, with the only blip being the fact that it doesn’t have laws to specifically handle cybercrimes.

Japan’s position was marred by increases in mobile and computer ransomware along with telnet attacks, which had reduced from last year but were still higher than other countries.

France’s and Canada’s rank was impacted by computers affected by malware. Canada’s rank was also impacted by other countries scoring better on cyber securedness.

To see the full list, click here.

Also read: Spying or hacking — nothing is hurting WhatsApp’s status as India’s top messaging app


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