Countries Poorly Prepared to Defend Against Evolving Cyber Threats
WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- After years of progress on nuclear security, the fourth edition of the NTI Nuclear Security Index finds that the steps countries have taken to reduce the threat of catastrophic nuclear terrorism are jeopardized by a deterioration of political stability and governance, an increase in corruption, and the expanding presence of terrorist groups around the world. The 2018 NTI Index also finds that many countries remain poorly prepared to defend against rapidly expanding and evolving cyber threats to nuclear facilities.
At the same time, the biennial NTI Index finds that despite these growing risks, progress to secure, minimize, and eliminate the world's deadliest materials—as well as to ensure the security of nuclear facilities—has accelerated since 2016. Today, 22 countries have weapons-usable nuclear materials, compared with 32 when the first NTI Index was released in 2012. In the past two years, Argentina and Poland have joined the list of countries that have removed or disposed of all highly enriched uranium within their territories.
In another positive development, of the 44 countries and Taiwan that have nuclear facilities where an act of sabotage could cause a dangerous release of radiation, 78 percent improved their Sabotage Ranking scores by implementing greater on-site physical protection, enhanced insider threat prevention, improved response capabilities, and other security measures. However, the NTI Index, which is produced with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and serves as a critical resource and tool for assessing global nuclear security, shows substantial room for improvement in this area and finds a troubling deterioration in the risk environment in a quarter of the countries with nuclear materials or facilities that could be targeted.
- As in 2012, 2014, and 2016, Australia is number one among the 22 countries with weapons-usable nuclear materials—but this time it shares the top spot with Switzerland.
- Japan improved its score more than any other country since 2012 by decreasing its quantities of nuclear materials and improving insider threat-prevention measures, as well as physical and cybersecurity regulations.
- China, Belgium, and Germany made notable improvements to their scores by taking important steps in areas such as insider threat prevention, cybersecurity, and physical security during transport and at facilities.
- Finland, New Zealand, and Sweden tied for the top ranking among countries with less than one kilogram of or no weapons-usable nuclear materials.
- Finland ranks number one for the second time among countries with nuclear facilities, such as power plants or research reactors, in need of protection against sabotage.
- As in 2016, Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom round out the top five.
The complete news release, full data, country profiles, and a new score simulator are available at www.ntiindex.org.