Nigeria ranks 47th on UN’s cybersecurity index

Nigeria ranked 47th out of 182 countries on the Global Cybersecurity Index for 2020 and occupied the fourth position in Africa.

The GCI is an initiative of the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations specialised agency for Information and Communications Technology. It was first launched in 2015 by the ITU to measure the commitment of 193 ITU member states and the State of Palestine to cybersecurity.

It was to serve as means to help the member states identify areas of improvement and encourage countries to take action, through raising awareness on the state of cybersecurity worldwide. The evolution of cybersecurity risks, priorities, and resources has also led GCI to adapt to give an accurate snapshot of cybersecurity measures taken by countries.

Mauritius, Tanzania, and Ghana are the top three nations in Africa, while Nigeria, Kenya, Benin, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia make up the top 10 African countries.

According to the report, in 2007, there were a billion people online, and the amount of data created was about 255 exabytes. With the advent of smartphones, and social media there are now about, 3.5 billion people online with about 44 zettabytes amount of data created.

The report said as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold in April 2020, Internet traffic increased by 30 per cent. From telecommuting to remote learning, technology played a key role in keeping people connected, and for the digital age to realise its potential, a trusted and safe cyberspace must be key.

“Global losses due to cybercrime is estimated from as low as $1tn in 2020, to as high as $6tn in 2021,” the report said.

Based on the report, the World Economic Forum estimates that approximately one million people go online for the first time each day, and two-thirds of the global population owns a mobile device. And while the advantage of digital technology brings immense economic and societal benefits, cyber risks can quickly erode the benefits of digitalization.

Countries that rank low on GCI are more likely to be least developed countries and to have a high percentage of their populations unconnected. As more people in these countries begin to become more connected, they would need support to develop cybersecurity capacity to better respond to threats.

However, countries like this are likely to face resource challenges in bridging their cyber-capacity gap, including a lack of institutional knowledge, policy limitations, skills shortages, among others to protect their ICT systems, both physically and virtually.

The report said that there would be 3.5 million to 4 million cybersecurity jobs left unfilled globally in 2021.

It said despite this gap, a significant number of countries were yet to develop sector-specific training, and over 50 per cent of countries lack programmes tailored towards specific sectors or professions such as law enforcement, legal actors, Small and medium-sized enterprises, private companies, and government officials.

According to the report, cybersecurity is continually evolving, behaviours, and practices. It said when the Sustainable Development Goals come to maturity in 2030, 90 per cent of the projected world population, or 7.5 billion people, are projected to be online, with an estimated 24.1 billion to 125 billion Internet of Things devices connected.

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