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Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs released its updated 2022 National Cyber Power Index (NCPI), a follow-up to its 2020 index that ranks 30 countries according to their capability and intent to pursue eight objectives of cyber power.

 

“States continue to expand their capabilities to achieve multiple objectives in Cyberspace,” said the authors of the National Cyber Power Index 2022.

 

Key items the report notes:

 

  • The United States remains atop the list (Top 10 and full Top 30 is below.)
  • russia moved ahead of the United Kingdom into third place (China remains second), „largely as a result of greater demonstrations of intent and capability in the fields of espionage, destructive attacks, and domestic surveillance.“
  • Australia jumped from 10th in 2020 to 5th in this year’s index; France fell three spots from 6th to 9th; and Germany, Canada, and Japan fell out of the Top 10.
  • Moving into the Top 10 were the Republic of Korea – 7th, up from 16th; Vietnam – 8th, up from 18th; and Iran – 10th, up from 22nd.
  • Ukraine is close to the Top 10, coming in 12th, but making a giant leap from 29th in 2020, driven by increases in cyber defense, intelligence, and destructiveness. Ukraine is side by side with Canada, ranked 13, and Germany, ranked 11.

 

The war in Ukraine helped with the increasing positions of both russia and Ukraine and led to russia leapfrogging the U.K. in the rankings. Within two objectives, commercial gain and destructive capability, russian cyber power has increased relative to that of the U.K., largely because of their undertaking of more cyber operations that have been publicly reported in these areas.

 

The index consists of 29 indicators, including attributed cyber attacks, data protection laws, technical standards and internet governance, cyber research, cyber crime and enforcement, and more, using publicly available knowledge of cyber capabilities.

 

These indicators are evaluated across eight objectives: financial, surveillance, intelligence, commerce, defense, information control, destructive, and norms.

 

Countries often hide their true cyber capabilities, “particularly destructive, defensive and espionage capabilities and their reliance on domestic national security structures,” the report notes. “We suspect this is the case for most states in relation to covert or military capabilities, but specifically for China, Israel, Iran, and North Korea.”

 

Among the 30 to cyber superpowers, the top-ranking objective of seven nations is surveillance. The top-ranking cyber objectives in the United States are intelligence gathering, destructiveness, control of the information environment, and establishing norms and technical standards.

 

The top 10 most powerful cyber nations in the world

 

 

The top 30 most powerful cyber nations in the world

 

 

The digital landscape—cyberspace—is the new battlefield as nation-states look to one-up each other through cyber means and grow their cyber power.

 

„From our analysis, it is clear that states seek to not only destroy and disable an adversary’s infrastructure and capabilities, but also to strengthen and enhance national cyber defenses, gather intelligence in other states, grow national cyber and commercial technology competence, control and manipulate the information environment, and extend their influence through defining international cyber norms and technical standards. Cyber power should be considered in the context of a state’s national objectives and states should and increasingly are taking a whole-of-nation approach when attempting to harness it.“

Full report is available HERE

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