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A Perfect Storm forms as COVID-19 Meets Cyberspace

On Sunday, the US Department of Health and Human Services was hit by a cyber attack intended to disrupt its response to the COVID-19 virus. The ‘disruption and disinformation’ attack has illustrated an intent to target a renewed dependency on IT systems during this pandemic. Businesses, universities, and governments around the world are rapidly deploying remote capabilities to allow work from home during self-isolation to flatten the curve. This solution however, has hyperextended existing IT infrastructure and while defenders struggle to adapt to this new perimeter, adversaries are sure to discover more points of impact. Time will tell if this hastily implemented productivity solution to the long-term pandemic will result in the foothold for the next cyber crisis.

Within a corporate setting, cybersecurity and IT teams monitor threats and secure networks. Malicious links are blocked, traffic is monitored, and vulnerability patches are quietly conducted in the background. All of this enables individuals to work safely and securely. Once one leaves the office however, these protections quickly wear off. These new remote capabilities have exchanged sound cybersecurity for immediate productivity.

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Virpratap Vikram Singh

Virpratap Vikram Singh

Virpratap Vikram Singh is a Master’s Candidate at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a 2020 RSA Security Scholar. His areas of focus include cybersecurity risk, information warfare, and technology policy. He previously worked for a foreign policy think tank in India, and holds a B.A. degree from the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts. Find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.