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Virtual Team March 27, 2020

Covid-19 and Cyber Security Challenges

Writen by Hassan Siraj

Pandemic Disease:

Covid-19 is not just a pandemic disease, it is a challenge for each and every aspect of humanity. Every solution to this problem leads to another problem. This maze of problems is linked with one and another and needs to be addressed timely to avoid long term consequences. The century we are living in is considered as the time of technology, and no doubt we have been immensely benefitted by it and it has been life support in terms of keeping the things going by remote working in the tough time of Covid-19.

But there is a small glitch that has been foreseeing and yet witnessed at an Irish hospital where hackers have crippled the system of the hospital, Covid-19 patients were being sent back owing to ransomware having been set up by a COVID-19 phishing email. It has turned out as a question mark that what are possible cybersecurity challenges and what can be done to make it effective.

With the great number of people working at home, the risk of cybercrimes has also increased as the data sharing at multiple networks can provide hackers with an opportunity to exploit. In a time of crisis where the concerns of every person are common makes it easier for hackers to manipulate the opportunity by targeting the most vulnerable. Some analysis has been done on the cybersecurity scenarios of Italy and it has been concluded that the companies that have announced quarantine and allowed workers to start working remotely were on the hit list of hackers.

In the quarantine situation, every person is heavily relying on internet-based social media and electronic media to stay updated about the news, which is definitely a huge blessing in this difficult time. But on the other end with all the terror of virus spreading like a fire and every minute, there is some new information about the virus being shared, people are more likely to click on any malicious link generating malware, or even worse clicking some wrong information on social media and further sharing it without authentication. The high dependency on email for the flow of work can increase the risk of clicking any phishing message.

Internet-based social media and electronic media:

The cybersecurity agencies will definitely play their part more effectively during the time of lockdown but most important is that employees can do a lot on their part to make the remote working more secure. Most importantly only authentic websites mentioned by the government should be utilized for gaining any information about the current situation. The spread of information on the internet should be shared very carefully with proper authentication. All the passwords should be updated more frequently and multi-level authentication should be used to keep the accounts secure. Paid private networks should be utilized for official work. The official computers and laptops should be kept specifically for the purpose of office work to avoid opening unnecessary sites and increase the risk of downloading any virus that can handicap the system and leak the information. For the employees related to security jobs or any job that requires more confidentiality, a home router kit can be useful to segregate the networks, as the concept of internet of things and installation of devices like Google Home and Alexa on the same network, which is being used for official data can make it highly vulnerable

In a time of global crisis, where there is no definite solution the benefits should always be given priority over the disadvantages. The advancement of technology has been proved very useful in this time and assisted humans on many fronts, without any doubt remote working in the quarantine time is a win-win situation to save the humanity and economy at the same time. All we need to do is stay more vigilant and responsible while working from home to keep the cybersecurity intact and avoid and upcoming cyber challenges.

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