Covid-19 and Cybersecurity: What to Know

There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and that can sometimes cause us to shift our attention away from things that do still matter, and sometimes matter quite a bit.

One area that we need to make sure we remain focused on is cybersecurity.

Covid-19 and Cybersecurity

It’s extremely important that businesses of all sizes and government organizations work to secure their architecture and manage their data and cybersecurity resource. The steps that could be taken now as far as cybersecurity could be useful in years to come as well, for example, by making it easier for employees to consistently work remotely.

For example, there are network management solutions that are an alternative to Infoblox that if put in place, could strengthen your entire architecture now and beyond the present moment.

The following are some of the major things to know about Covid-19 and cybersecurity right now, in the general sense.

Cybersecurity Is Critical Right Now

There are coronavirus cases all over the world, and as a result, people are staying home and depending on the digital infrastructure for everything from work to medical care.

Our digital world is how we communicate with one another, how we get the information we need in our daily lives, and for some people right their only source of human interaction.

Both business and public sector organizations are using work-from-home policies, and governments are using the digital world as their main form of information transmission.

If there were to be a disruption in digital systems, it could be even more catastrophic than what’s already happening.

Guidance for Employees

Whether your employees are working remotely or not, there are a number of things you need to be providing them guidance on right now as far as cybersecurity including:

  • Go over the importance of identifying and avoiding phishing attacks. Phishing attacks are always a threat, but right now cybercriminals could exploit the fear and panic gripping the nation.
  • Create strategies for dealing with issues related to employees using their own devices, handling data, and other relevant policies. You may need to rely on data encryption for sending information right now.
  • Your employees may need to use your company’s virtual private network (VPN).
  • If you don’t already have policies in place for working remotely and data security, now might be the time to start creating and disseminating those.
  • If you don’t have multi-factor authentication, again, now could be the time for this.

It’s really important for employers and everyone to realize how much they might let their guard down during this time.

For example, there was a recently cited situation where a cyberattack that was worldwide in scope was targeting people who wanted to see visuals of the spread of Covid-19. Victims of the attack were asked to download and run a malicious application that they thought would show them coronavirus statistics. Ultimately when they did that, it compromised their computers.

There are also less direct issues with cybersecurity that everyone has to think about, and not just employers.

When people are spending more time online in general, they may be more likely to engage in risky online business. For example, they might want to see a pirated movie they can no longer see in theaters because theaters are closed. That can, in turn, lead to an increased likelihood that their device is exposed to an attack.


There are some issues arising that are indirectly related to cybersecurity as far as HIPPA privacy rules go. Since we are in the midst of a Covid-19 outbreak, there are a lot of issues circulating about HIPAA in different ways.

One way is through the increase of telemedicine. Doctor’s offices and medical providers that may not be used to providing telemedicine on a large scale might be doing it now, which means that they are having to think about privacy rules, protecting patient information and the effects of technology on patient care.

There are also issues that come with the fact that employers are being given information about people testing positive for Covid-19, and health departments are collecting this information.

There was an alteration by the HHS during this time that changed HIPPA rules. Now, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, health care providers can use applications including Facebook Messenger and Hangouts to provide patient care on a remote basis.

Geolocation and Facial Recognition

What we’ve been hearing about in the past few weeks is that the government in the United States is talking to private companies, including social media companies, to use current technology like facial recognition and geolocation features to gain a better understanding of how the virus is spreading and whether or not people are practicing social distancing.

This is, of course, bringing with it a lot of backlash.

The CDC is working with companies like Google already to model the virus spread using data from social media.

Palantir is a data analytics company also working with the CDC to track the virus through data mapping.

There are talks with private companies to use cell phone location data to determine if Americans are following protocols for social distancing. This brings about concerns related to not just cybersecurity but also privacy.

Finally, there was legislation underway in states and in Congress relating to data privacy that may be put on hold right now.

According to the National Law Review, California is one example. There was an initiative to strengthen the California Consumer Privacy Act, and now there may not be enough opportunities to get the proposal on the ballot as the state is facing a shelter in place order.

There are so many factors at play right now, and that can mean people don’t prioritize certain things and they could get pushed to the back burner, but we really can’t let cybersecurity be one of those things.

In fact, now more than ever might be the time for businesses, public organizations, and individuals to put the focus on cybersecurity.

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