Methodology: The Cyber Defense Index 2022/23
The MIT Technology Review Insights Cyber Defense Index rates and
ranks the world’s largest and most digitally-forward economies’
capability to prepare against and respond and recover from
cybersecurity threats. It assesses 20 of the world’s major economies
(largely members of the G20 forum, excluding Russia and adding
Poland) according to how well their institutions have adopted
technology and digital practices to be resilient against
cyberattacks and how well governments and policy frameworks promote
secure digital transactions.
The Index was developed by combining two broad sets of input data:
Secondary source data, including global digital technology
adoption statistics and policy and regulatory data, largely
sourced from international institutions and benchmarks.
A global survey of 1000 senior executives (with an equal number of
respondents from each country ranked in the Index) who have
cybersecurity responsibilities for their respective organizations.
Forty-three percent of respondents were CIOs, CTOs, or chief
security officers. Respondents were asked to rate the
effectiveness of technology adoption and policy and regulation
formation, and of their own cybersecurity activities, as well as
to comment on their technology development priorities over the
next two to three years.
Both sets of data informed a series of indicators—lists of
qualitative and quantitative factors—which were then selected,
populated, and organized into four pillars. Data from secondary
sources was converted into scores. This was done for the indicators
sourced from survey responses as well, where each country’s
responses were ranked according to their variance from the global
The use of survey data in the CDI is intended to provide “boots on
the ground” assessments of the current operating conditions for
maintaining cybersecure environments. This is similar to the way
purchasing manager indexes or business confidence indexes
incorporate the views of professionals on their own (or their
country’s) relative performance.
The indicator data was subjected to trend analysis, informed by
primary research interviews with global cybersecurity professionals,
technology developers, analysts, and policymakers. This was
complemented by a consultative peer-review process with
cybersecurity technology analysts. Based on these inputs, weighting
assumptions were assigned to determine the relative importance with
which each indicator and pillar influenced a country’s cybersecurity
The four pillars of the CDI are:
This pillar indicates how well each country is served by robust
and secure digital and telecommunications networks and computing
resources that underpin primary economic activity. In addition
to an overall indicator of telecom capacity, as assessed by the
UN, these metrics incorporate the country’s number of data
centers and secure servers. This pillar also includes indicators
derived from our global survey in which respondents assessed the
robustness of each country’s critical infrastructure. This
pillar’s indicators collectively represent 30% of the CDI’s
This pillar collects several views of the technological and
legal enforcement “assets” in each country that prevent improper
access and use of data. These include the ITU’s holistic
assessment of cybersecurity capabilities, our own ranking of
digital privacy protections, and survey respondents’ views on
how well cybersecurity tools and infrastructure are applied in
their market. At 35%, this pillar contributes the largest
portion of the Index’s score.
This pillar measures the relative cybersecurity maturity and
digital experience of the country’s businesses and institutions.
This includes a measure of digital participation in government
the extent to which organizations are familiar with artificial
intelligence, and survey respondents’ assessments of the degree
to which cybersecurity capabilities are strategic and formally
integrated into their organizations. This pillar accounts for
20% of the overall score.
This pillar measures the comprehensiveness, quality, and
efficacy of a country’s regulatory environment in enhancing and
promoting resilient cybersecurity practices. This measure
incorporates the World Bank’s evaluation of the government’s
effectiveness and the quality of its cybersecurity regulation,
as well as survey respondents’ assessments of the robustness and
completeness of that regulation. This pillar accounts for 15% of
the overall score.
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