Vatican tops list of countries with best cybersecurity literacy skills


Nine of 10 countries demonstrating the best cybersecurity literacy skills are European, while Vatican City (or The Holy See) tops the global ranking, as the National Privacy Test results indicate.

With 65 points, the United Kingdom ranks 35th in the global scoreboard.

Organized by NordVPN, a cybersecurity company and a part of  Nord Security, the National Privacy Test is designed to evaluate aspects of an individual’s online life, including their understanding of cybersecurity in theory and their ability to recognize online threats and react accordingly.

“The National Privacy Test is a tool to compare cybersecurity skills in various countries and regions. It offers the possibility to evaluate individual digital privacy skills for every internet user. Internet users are again invited to evaluate their online privacy and cybersecurity awareness and get tips on how it can be improved,” says Daniel Markuson, a cybersecurity expert at NordVPN.

Data collected since 2020, when the National Privacy Test was first offered, shows that respondents from Vatican City scored 72 points, the highest global result. Residents of Vatican City demonstrated an excellent awareness of digital risks and how to avoid them (scoring 90 points). On the other hand, the results showed a need to improve digital habits (54 points) – for example, how to use online services and privacy tools to ensure data security.

The Vatican City’s high ranking is not a surprise in the context of European countries. Europeans dominate the list of the most literate in cybersecurity, with nine countries from the region ranking in the 10 highest positions. Finland, with 71 points overall, is in second place in the global ranking, while the Czech Republic is third. Both countries showed comparatively poorer results than Vatican City in all three categories of the research — digital habits, digital privacy awareness, and digital risk.

Singapore is the only non-European country that entered the top 10 list of the National Privacy Test. With 69 points, Singapore ranked 7th globally and achieved the highest score among all Asian countries, leaving Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (both with 67 points) behind.

While the United States, with 67 points, delivered a better result in the National Privacy Test than Canada, it ranked only 21st globally. The respondents from the US dominated Canadians in all categories of the test — digital habits (48 to 45 points), digital privacy awareness (74 to 69 points), and digital risk (85 to 82 points). 

Similarly, New Zealand leads in Oceania. New Zealand residents scored 68 points in the National Privacy Test and overtook Australia (63 points) in all categories of the research.

The country with the highest competence in digital privacy and cybersecurity in Latin America was Brazil. Brazilians scored 67 points and led Argentina and Colombia by 2 points. While Argentina and Colombia scored 65 points, Colombia achieved a better result in digital habits (49 to 47) and digital risks (84 to 80).

The global average score is 65 points. Data shows that respondents worldwide succeeded the most in recognizing and avoiding digital risks (82 points), with users scoring 69 points on average for knowing how to protect their devices from malware and keep accounts safe. Respondents scored only 47 points for knowing how to use online services and employing the right privacy tools to ensure their data is secure.

Chris Price
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