Cyber-attacks are more prevalent than ever, and countries realize the need to ramp up their defense plans for advanced types of attacks.
According to The Global Cybersecurity Index, published by ABI Research and ITU, The United States and Canada tie for first place in cybersecurity, and Australia ranks a close second. The report ranks countries based off of their commitment to increasing cybersecurity defenses and their preparation efforts, and not by the success of safeguards or levels of risk to each country.
Read on to see the financial budgets each country sets aside for cyber defenses, cyber-attacks they have encountered in the past, and the actions they are currently taking to heighten their cybersecurity.
Government sectors and officials haven’t taken cybersecurity planning and efforts lightly, and according to Obama’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan, the President asked for a 1/3 increase in his fiscal 2017 budget proposal. The new budget will increase from $14 billion to $19 billion, and use the extra $5billion to cover government cybersecurity staffing, technology modernization and more.
The National Action Plan is divided into four tiers, which will focus on establishing a committee of nongovernment cybersecurity experts, modernizing and adding extra staff to the current government IT section, and teaming up with tech and financial firms like Google and Visa to establish multi-factor authentication as an extra layer of protection for consumers. The final building block of the plan is increasing the cybersecurity budget by 35 percent to $19 billion in order to carry out all parts of the action plan.
Known for the famous Sony Pictures cyber-attack which listed Sony employees’ names, job titles, home addresses, bonus plans, and salaries; and the 2014 Target cyber breach which affected 70 million Target customers, companies and government officials are intent on being prepared and fully equipped for future attacks.
Tied with the U.S. for the most cyber-prepared country, Canada has also devoted a hefty sum for their cybersecurity plan.
A total of $58 million is set aside to cover the next five years and protect the Government of Canada’s indispensable cybersystems and infrastructures against cyber-attacks. Funding will be used to cover the development and distribution of advanced cybersecurity tools, security information, and staffing cybersecurity professionals. Cybersecurity investment has increased a total of 82 percent over the year, but according to a PWC report, only 5 percent of funding is devoted to overall IT.
Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy is focusing on three objectives: securing government systems, securing vital cybersystems outside the government, and helping Canadians to be secure online.
One of the most impactful cyberattacks Canada has encountered is the 25 series of ongoing malware attacks in 2014, which were aimed at government-run systems like power plants, electrical grids, aviation software, and more. It was the most high-profile cyber-attack since Chinese hackers gained access into Canada’s scientific research agency in 2013.
Coming in third place, Australia Parliament has set aside $230 million to fund cybersecurity improvement and spending for the next four years. The funds are split into $47.3 million to establish Joint Cyber Threat Centres and an online threat sharing portal; $21.5 million to expand their current Computer Emergency Response Team, $10 million for a cyber-security awareness campaign, $1.6 million to develop extra education about efficient cybersecurity habits, and $2 million for government cybersecurity program expansion and a cost-recovery system for delivering cybersecurity ‘health checks’ for ASX100-listed companies.
The “National Cyber Security Strategy” is focused on establishing cybersecurity partnerships with other countries, advancing current government cyber defenses and responses, focus on growth and innovation, form cyber-smart skills and awareness among citizens, and shut existing safe havens on the internet.