Singapore's population has world-class cyber literacy skills

20 November 2020 2 min. read

Singapore’s population stands behind only Switzerland in a global ranking of cyber risk literacy prepared by management consultancy Oliver Wyman. The study takes into account involvement from people, the government, educational institutions and employers.

The firm used a combination of data analysis, surveys, interviews and collaboration with policy, industry and academic experts to present a comprehensive breakdown of cyber literacy across 50 geographies. The premise: people lie at the heart of successful cyber security measures.

“Studies show that most cybersecurity issues stem from human error, such as accidentally clicking on a malicious link and downloading malware. Increasing people’s awareness and motivation on cyber issues should be a key element of every geography’s defensive strategy,” explained Paul Mee, Cyber Risk Lead at Oliver Wyman.

The study broke down: public commitment to cyber security; government policies for cyber education; the quality of cyber instruction at educational institutions; the scale of initiatives within the business environment; and the scale of digital access in a country. Switzerland emerged as a world leader as a result, with Singapore following in a close second.

Cyber Risk Literacy and Education Index rankings

With its budding tech landscape, Singapore is the only Asian country to make it in the top 10, with Australia marking the only other Asia Pacific representation. The education system’s contribution is the shining light in Singapore’s cyber literacy landscape, with its labour upskilling initiatives ranking first in the world and formal education ranking second. 

Also among the country’s strengths is its public motivation to self-educate on cyber security, with awareness in Singapore also ranking second in the world. Most of the country’s population is online, which gives it a good inclusivity score as well. The labour market’s contribution is strong too, with the weakest metric being the government’s lack of long-term cyber security vision.

Aside from Switzerland and Singapore, the top ten for cyber literacy included: UK, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, Estonia, Israel, Ireland and the US. The lack of an APAC presence on the list is concerning, particularly as the region charges on with its digitalisation efforts. It is commonly accepted now that an expanding digital portfolio brings with it a range of new cyber vulnerabilities as well, putting APAC among high-risk areas.

Further, “the coronavirus pandemic has elevated the risk and the urgency by shifting economic and social activity online,” added Mee.

Educational initiatives are underway in key markets, although experts suggest an integrated approach is key to ensuring cyber security in the region.