What if Covid-19 was a cyber virus? Let’s increase the end-users awareness to be prepared for a pandemic cyber virus.
Although not directly threatening the lives of human beings, a Covid19-like cyber virus could break the digital rhythm of billions of people by hindering the normal and, in some cases, unconscious usage of digital resources and technologies.
While locking people at home and closing boundaries between countries, eventually the Covid-19 pandemic still allowed corporate organizations and individuals to digitally interact and run their businesses, at least to the extent of keeping the lights on. Conversely, a cyber virus requiring an access restriction to digital resources to reduce its distribution, would be a serious limitation to the current production processes with even greater drawbacks and negative consequences to economies than what we are experiencing and likely we will continue seeing for Covid-19 within the next 12/18 months.
The point here is that, although not directly threatening our lives, the effect of a cyber virus with a Covid-19 similar capability to infect the cyber world, which is an increasing part of our real world, could have a greater impact on GDPs around the world and require a longer time to recover. Indeed it would take much longer to adapt to a new normal with restricted usage of digital technologies than it took to stretch the usage of digital technologies the keep things running during the Covid-19.
This parallelism came to my mind when recently attending the Cyber Power Hour, an event arranged by the Cyber Security Summit USA which is an opportunity to touch with hands and hear directly from IT security execs operating in the US the latest on IT threats. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the increased amount of cyber threats has mainly targeted end-users with more and more sophisticated phishing campaigns. It looks like that whether biological or cyber, viruses are needing human beings to be effective. Therefore to protect their digital assets, it becomes a priority for business organizations to increase the end-users awareness on cyber threats. Although only 25% of IT security execs consider it as a priority, effective communication and training campaigns on cyber threats make the difference and generate effects similar to adopting for example the latest AI-based end-user behavior analytics platform.
So as with Covid-19 we have reacted and learned wearing masks, washing hands, and applying social distancing, similarly, we should in parallel proactively teach and educate the business organizations where we operate to best practices to prevent and recognize a cyber threat.
It would help to avoid the perfect storm of a pandemic biological virus hitting the world (as Covid-19 already did) at the same time as a pandemic cyber virus.