COVID-19 pandemic has brought our attention to a reconsideration of national and global cybersecurity strategies
History will record the spread of COVID-19 as the biggest challenge faced by mankind and the modern infrastructure we are so dependant on. With millions around the world forced to self-isolate at home, the pandemic, which has now claimed more than 50,000 lives worldwide, has left people with no option but to turn to the internet as a source of communication and to conduct what is now known as the new normal of working from home. Before March 2020, no one had thought about how the world would change so much in just a few weeks. No one had thought we would be locked in self-isolation and so dependant on the Internet for almost everything from ordering essentials to making bank transactions and to even conducting the affairs of the government. This drastic and near-overnight transition has been a shock for many of us — some not so tech-savvy others somewhat aware but certainly not prepared for the challenges of the digital transition.
But for one group, the spread of COVID-19 came as good news — the cybercriminals celebrated the transitions and were perhaps even waiting for the world to make the societal shift online — unprepared and unguarded. Since March 2020, when the world was turned upside down by the spread of the virus, these cyber gangs have made the most of this global health disaster. From hacking critical information to private classroom meetings, we have seen all sorts of cyber assault headlines in the past few weeks. At a time when life is already so disrupted and desperate preventive measures, such as social distancing, leave us with no option but be to more dependent on the internet, the world needs to pay attention to the vulnerabilities of our digital space. While public health and cybersecurity are different problems, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought our attention to an important issue — which invites a reconsideration of national and global cybersecurity strategies and policies.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2020.
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