World Economic Forum’s Cybersecurity Warning Amid Coronavirus

With COVID-19 spreading at light speed, hackers are preying on businesses’ and public sector organizations’ heightened reliance on digital tools, the World Economic Forum said in a blog post.

As the contagion continues to disrupt global health, economic, political and social systems, in the “uncertainty of the crisis” robust cybersecurity matters more than ever. Here's the Forum's three reasons why:

  • A heightened dependency on digital infrastructure raises the cost of failure.
    With many companies now relying on telework, a cyber attack that deprives organizations access to their devices could cause widespread infrastructure failures that take entire communities or cities offline, obstructing healthcare providers, public systems and networks.
  • Cybercrime exploits fear and uncertainty. Cyber criminals rely on human weaknesses to execute their attacks. And, in a crisis such as COVID-19, stress can incite users to take actions that would be considered irrational in other circumstances. People tend to make mistakes they would not have made otherwise.
  • More time online could lead to riskier behavior. Always, and especially during the pandemic, clicking on the wrong link or expanding surfing habits can be extremely dangerous and costly.

Here are three practical actions to stay safe online:

  • Review cyber hygiene standards. Review your digital hygiene habits, such as ensuring a long, complex router password and firewalls. Don’t reuse passwords across the web and use a reliable VPN for internet access wherever possible.
  • Verify sources. Be more careful than usual when installing software and giving out any personal information. Don’t click on links from email. When signing up to new services, verify the source of every URL and ensure the programs or apps you install are the original versions from a trusted source.
  • Keep updating. Update system software and applications regularly to patch any weaknesses that could be exploited. Look for well known and trusted websites that can help verify the legitimacy of the information.

“Everyone’s personal behavior is instrumental in preventing the spread of dangerous infections both online and in the physical world,” the Forum said.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.