Valuable Lessons about Cybersecurity from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Starting in mid March 2020, business activities in the physical world ground to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that were highly dependent on consumers being physically present, such as food service, tour and travel, entertainment, and nonessential retail, took a great hit. Meanwhile other sectors were prompted to apply remote working and ecommerce tactics to remain afloat amidst the crisis.

Ransomware is everywhere

Many people assume that cyberspace is safe from any kind of ‘viral’ attack. However, it was observed that cyberattack rates soared, even in countries with excellent IT infrastructure such as the UK and India. The Gmail Security Product Manager, Neil Kumaran, explains how this is possible.

"Attacks and scams use regionally relevant lures, financial incentives and fear to create urgency and entice users to respond [to the unsuspecting malware-containing emails]."

Ransomware can do far greater damage to businesses than other types of malware. Computer viruses corrupt files and systems, rendering them useless to businesses, but do not provide financial incentives to malevolent hackers. Ransomwares are now far more common, with the worst being the 2018 WannaCry ransomware that infected 200,000 computers in over 150 countries within two days.

The possibility of a malware pandemic

The World Economic Forum has other concerns – a malware pandemic, a real threat that is highly possible in the near future. It is possible for malware to take inspiration from the characteristics that make the SARS-CoV-2 virus so deadly.

The biological virus itself has a 14-day incubation period in which infected hosts do not show symptoms but can unknowingly spread the virus; the spread rate (R0) of COVID-19 is around 2 to 3. With an estimated R0 of at least 27, computer worms with delayed activation is a ticking time bomb for millions of computers worldwide.

It is time to take action

Xynexis is the pioneer of the internationally-standardized cybersecurity service in Indonesia. Our core belief in exceeding compliance has helped our clients in the financial, government and telecommunication sectors to combat against the increasingly malevolent and intelligent malware.

Each byte of data has real economic and personal value. Learn more about data protection in the Critical Information Infrastructures Protection (CIIP) Summit. In addition, please give your support for Born to Protect, an educational program for the next talented generation in cybersecurity.