Study: U.K., U.S., Australia wield most 'Cyber Power'
Posted in: Legal & Security at 17/01/2012 17:22
The United Kingdom and United States lead other developing countries in their ability to withstand cyberattacks and develop strong digital economies, according to a new study by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The U.K. tops the rest of the Group of 20 nations, including the U.S., in the "Cyber Power Index." The European Union, considered the 20th member of the G20, was not included.
Australia ranked third for Cyber Power
Australia has been ranked third behind the UK and US and ahead of 17 other G-20 nations for its ability to withstand cyber attacks and to deploy the digital infrastructure needed for a productive and secure economy.
The ranking, via the Economist intelligence Unit's (EIU) Cyber Power Index, takes into consideration 40 different indicators across four categories: Legal and Regulatory Framework; Economic and Social Context; Technology Infrastructure; and Industry Application.
The Cyber Hub
The Cyber Hub provides an overview of the digital arena. As governments and businesses strive to remain competitive in a cyber era, the Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, has set out to understand the significance of cyber power today. The research is built on several integral parts: an interactive index that assesses specific aspects of the cyber environment of the G20 countries, and a series of research papers that examine the implications for the business community.
It is well established that strong digital development increases cyber power potential, yet a rise in dependency also results in greater security risks. As illustrated by the Cyber Power Index, many countries struggle with this inherent contradiction, while leading countries meet these new challenges. Cyber power is defined here as the ability to withstand cyber attacks and to deploy the digital infrastructure necessary for a productive and secure economy. The concept of cyber power therefore encompasses both the benefits and the potential challenges of reliance on digital resources.
The global rise in the importance of information and communication technology (ICT) to economic development is well documented; however, relatively little attention has been paid to the potential negative consequences of our rising cyber reliance. Moreover, understanding the factors behind cyber power and the ways in which they affect organizations at all levels is increasingly important as countries become more interconnected and emerging markets play a bigger role in cyberspace. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the UN, the proportion of households with Internet access in the developing world has risen tremendously, from 4.6% in 2002 to 15.8% in 2010.
To gain a better understanding of factors influencing cyber power globally, the Economist Intelligence Unit has developed the Cyber Power Index, sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton. The index is a dynamic quantitative and qualitative model, constructed from 39 indicators and sub-indicators that measure specific attributes of the cyber environment across four drivers of cyber power: legal and regulatory framework; economic and social context; technology infrastructure; and industry application, which examines digital progress across key industries.
This benchmarking exercise covers 19 countries of the Group of 20 (G20), excluding its last member, the EU. Each country was evaluated relative to others by an Economist Intelligence Unit analyst; categories and individual indicators are weighted according to assumptions of their relative importance. Details on the methodology, including weighting, can be found in the appendix of this paper.
Overall, the top five countries exhibiting cyber power, as measured by the index -- the UK; the US; Australia; Germany; and Canada -- illustrate that developed Western countries are leading the way into the digital era. One reason for this is the depth of Internet penetration in these countries. In 2010, the percentage of households with access to the Internet in the developed world stood at 65.6%, over four times the penetration in the developing world. The top five performers also rate highly across the board, ranking in the top seven in all four categories.
The leading emerging market countries, Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRICs), have some room for improvement; out of the 19 economies, they rank 10th, 14th, 17th, and 13th, respectively. There is also a wide discrepancy between the top and the bottom of the index. The UK, the top performer, scores around three times the amount of points on a scale of 0 to 100 as the worst performer, Saudi Arabia.