According to a Comparitech study[i], which looked at 60 countries and included a number of categories, from malware rates to cybersecurity-related legislation, Algeria is the least cyber-secure country in the world. It was the highest-ranking country for lack of legislation and computer malware rates. It also received a high score in the category for mobile malware and and one of the lowest scores in preparation for cyber attacks.
The study created rankings for 60 countries, from the least cyber safe to the most cyber safe. It says no single country was found to hold superiority in all categories. However, the U.S, Japan, France, Canada, and Denmark ranked the best overall for their internet security protocols. The report concludes that in terms of better protections from malware and cyber attacks, and legislation, “Despite some countries having clear strengths and weaknesses, there is definite room for improvement in each and every one.”
The study considered seven criteria:
- The percentage of mobiles infected with malware – Bangladesh – 35.91% of users
- The percentage of computers infected with malware – Algeria – 32.41%
- The number of financial malware attacks – Germany – 3% of users
- The percentage of telnet attacks (by originating country) – China – 27.15%
- The percentage of attacks by cryptominers – Uzbekistan – 14.23% of users
- The least-prepared countries for cyber attacks – Vietnam – 0.245 score
- Worst up-to-date legislation for cybersecurity – Algeria – 1 key category covered
The most up-to-date legislation was scored based on existing legislation that covered seven categories (national strategy, military, content, privacy, critical infrastructure, commerce, and crime). According to Global Cyber Strategies Index, Algeria has legislation only on privacy, and it goes back to 2012[ii].
It seems that the study ignores the existence of a 2009 cybercrime law[iii] “dealing with special rules related to prevention and the fight against crime related to information technologies and communication.” This law gives the authorities the right to block websites deemed “contrary to the public order or decency.”
In 2015, the Algerian government officially created a National Authority for the prevention and combating of infringements related to information and communication technology. It is the Center for the Prevention and Fight Against Computer Crime and Cybercrime (CPLCIC). According to a decree published in the Official Journal of October 8th, 2015 this new authority was put under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice.
However, it is true that a law specific to cybercrime is still lacking. Last October, Minister of Justice, Tayeb Louh, announced the finalization of the text on the fight against cybercrime, highlighting the need to “adapt Algerian legislation to developments in the world”[iv].
In the past, such laws have always raised the concern of civil society for their restrictive nature. However, the ongoing movement in the country will certainly weigh on the drafting of the new law as eyes will be turned towards the aspects related to the respect of privacy, the freedom of expression and opinion, and the respect of collective freedoms.