Countries that have signed on to international cybersecurity agreements tend to have fewer malware infections among their citizens, according to new research released by Microsoft and George Washington University.
Countries that have signed the 2001 Council of Europe Cybercrime treaty or the 2004 London Action Plan on spam tend to outperform other countries in a key cybersecurity measure, said the report, released Wednesday by Microsoft and George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute.
While simply signing on to an international cybersecurity agreement may not have an impact on the metric, computers cleaned per mile, or CCM, the agreements often come with requirements for countries before they can sign on, said Paul Nicholas, senior director of global security strategy and diplomacy at Microsoft.
The requirements from the agreements include methods for international cooperation on cybercrime that “can evolve with the changing threat landscape,” he said.
To sign on to the agreements, countries “had to go and build capabilities, they had to change laws,” Nicholas added.
Beyond the international agreements, researchers found 34 factors that correlate with a stronger national cybersecurity posture. Among the factors that correlated with a lower CCM number were computers per capita, Facebook use, health expenditures per person, broadband penetration, and research and development spending.