Thailand ranks 20th globally on cybersecurity

The United Nations International Telecommunication Union has ranked Thailand 20th out of 77 countries in cyber security, characterizing the Kingdom as at the “maturing stage” on the issue, while noting that many nations at a more advanced stage of development also have holes in their cyber defenses.

The Global Cybersecurity Index 2017 is the second survey of its kind undertaken by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with the first published in 2014. It measures the commitment of member states in order to raise awareness of the issues, threats and advances in cybersecurity. The ITU said its aim is to help foster a global culture of cybersecurity and its integration at the core of information communication technologies.

The ITU also said the Index “is a multi-stakeholder initiative to measure the commitment of countries to cybersecurity. Cybersecurity has a wide field of application that cuts across many industries and sectors.” Each country’s level of development will therefore be analyzed within five categories: Legal Measures, Technical Measures, Organizational Measures, Capacity Building and Cooperation.

Thailand achieved 0.683 points out of a possible 1.0, placing it just ahead of India in the Asia-Pacific region. In the region, Thailand ranked 7th, behind Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand, but ahead of 24 other countries. Of the six nations ahead of Thailand, all are at a more advanced stage of development except for Malaysia.

Singapore ranked first in the world, with the United States coming in second. Malaysia was a surprise by finishing in third place globally, ahead of many more advanced countries.

Thailand has 33 percent mobile phone penetration, 40 million Internet banking accounts, 19 million mobile banking accounts and a rapidly growing e-commerce sector. All that bodes well for Thailand 4.,0, the national strategy that includes building a more digital and advanced economy. Connectivity in Thailand is high, but has brought with it security challenges.

According to ESET, a Slovakia-based global IT firm, about 85 percent of Thais have received “some form of cybersecurity education, but were only able to answer 72 percent of cybersecurity questions correctly, meaning that “they still lack sufficient knowledge on how to protect themselves.”

The firm said Thais were likely to use weak passwords and fail to back up their data, exposing themselves unnecessarily to online risks. Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated, the firm said, and no peoples are able to protect themselves completely.

ESET urged the government to establish a central cybersecurity authority to coordinate all cybersecurity matters and identify and develop policies, adding it should also set up a cybersecurity emergency response team.