Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine and Albania have been rated as the most exposed countries according to the Global Cybersecurity Exposure Index 2020.
But while Western Europe has two countries classified in the high exposure group, this only accounts for five per cent of all European countries, and is the lowest of all the continents.
Finland was the least exposed European country, closely followed by Denmark, Luxembourg, Estonia, and Norway – overall, Europe has the lowest exposure score per country (0.329).
Jonathan Miles, head of strategic intelligence and security research at Mimecast said that the findings can be linked back to the level of budgets available to organisations within certain countries to prevent and abate cyber threats, as well as their ability to attract security talent. Miles said: "One thing that is noticeable is that those with lower scores can be considered ‘hostile’ environments and will continue to struggle to attract the appropriate talent they need to strengthen their defence posture.
"Areas such as Afghanistan and Palestine will remain under the international spotlight, meaning they will also attract the focus of cybercriminals and state sponsored entities. Another reason for those countries scoring low will be their level of exposure to interconnectivity, take for example Africa, which has been reliant on mobile and satellite connectivity and is fairly new to the digitalisation landscape, meaning it is more suspectable to cyberattacks.
Miles said that with the internet transcending international boundaries, those ranking high in the index should consider sharing their knowledge and expertise with those achieving lower scores.
He added: "Threats are increasing and our latest State of Email Security report found that 60 percent of organisations believe it’s inevitable or likely they will suffer from an email-borne attack in the coming year. All countries face the same kind of issues whether that be malware or ransomware, so a joint global response is much more productive than individual efforts.
"All countries seeking to mitigate the threats they are facing should seek to adopt a multi-layered cyber defence that includes education, threat awareness training and full network defence measures."
Some 71 percent of European countries were classified in the low and very low exposure groups, while Europe accounted for 67 per cent of low and very low exposure countries worldwide.
The report - Global Cybersecurity Exposure Index 2020 - from PasswordManagers.co puts a spotlight on how countries around the world are exposed to a growing wave of cyberattacks.
The Cybersecurity Exposure Index (CEI) 2020 rated and analysed 108 countries based on exposure to malicious attacks including trojans, phishing, ransomware and cryptocurrency mining. Globally, Finland was the least exposed to cybercrime, by Denmark, Luxembourg, Australia and Estonia.
The country exposed to the most cyberattacks was Afghanistan, closely followed by Myanmar, Ethiopia, Palestine and Venezuela.
Jamie Ahktar, co-founder and CEO at CyberSmart: "This underscores the importance of government support in enhancing the cyber baseline of a country to increase resilience. Programmes such as UK Cyber Essentials, Australia’s Essential Eight, and US CMMC pave the way for more secure societies as they offer a pathway to every business to secure their data."
The research also examined how countries approach cybersecurity issues and cybercrime. This was based on examining technical, organisations, legal, and building capacity and cooperation elements.