K.S. Rajan (31 Jan 2012)
"Security stress tests (was: Israel, Finland and Sweden top for computer security)"

A new study by a Brussels think-tank about resilience to cyber attacks.

Prominent winners: Israel, Finland and Sweden.
Prominent losers: Brazil, India, Mexico and Romania.

From today's FT, FYI,
January 30, 2012 12:02 am
Israel, Finland and Sweden top for computer security
By James Blitz in London
Israel, Finland and Sweden are judged to be the nations which are most resilient to cyberattacks on their public and private computer systems, according to an in-depth study into cybersecurity published on Monday by a Brussels-based think–tank.
However, four other countries – Brazil, India, Mexico and Romania – are deemed by the study to be the countries most vulnerable to cyberattacks and cybercrime. This is because the public and private sector in these states do not have the correct systems and procedures in place to defend themselves.
The study, published by Security and Defence Agenda, a Brussels-based think-tank, contains what it calls “country by country stress tests” on some 23 nations using a methodology drawn up by Robert Lentz, a former US government official.
The SDA says it brought together eight senior security officials at Nato and the European Commission to use the methodology in order to judge the resilience of the 23 nations on a range of fronts. Among the issues being examined in the stress tests was whether government and industry in each country uses standard tools of computer network defence; and whether there is good exchange of information between the public and private sectors.
The SDA judged that the Nordic states – in particular Finland and Sweden – were by far the most resilient in Europe, scoring slightly ahead of the UK, France, Germany, Denmark and Estonia. “Almost everyone agrees that the Nordic countries score high on cybersecurity with the UK also very strong,” says Brigid Grauman, the report’s author. “But elsewhere in Europe, most notably in Poland, Italy and Romania, you do not see the same level of resilience.”
Outside Europe, the SDA report rates Israel cyberdefence very highly, with the country claiming to face “1,000 cyberattacks every minute.” Israel has responded by formulating national policies to counter cyberattacks and is implementing a five-year plan “to place itself in the global cybersecurity lead”.
However, the report expresses concern about India, Mexico and Brazil. It says that India stands fifth in the world-wide ranking of countries affected by cybercrime and that the premium on internet privacy is low and data control is therefore neglected.
In Brazil, the SDA report judges that widespread police corruption and a lack of legislation to combat cybercrime “have constituted the country’s Achilles heel”. In Mexico, the government “is fighting a fierce war against the drug mafia, which often has the better technology”. It says that state officials in Mexico “are relatively guarded about the country’s cyberstrategy and are slow in setting up regulations”.
The report argues that the global economic crisis is undermining investment in cybersecurity by many countries and that IT training worldwide is not meeting the demand that companies have for staff. “There is a big gap between what the market needs and what universities produce,” says Evangelos Ouzonis, an expert at Enisa, the European agency in charge of expertise and information security.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2012.