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COVID-19 and Why Cybersecurity Can’t Wait

Malicious cyber activity has dramatically increased over the last few weeks as bad actors rush to exploit the COVID-19 crisis. Criminal groups have wasted no time, publishing fake websites and apps riddled with ransomware to steal personal information from individuals seeking updates on the pandemic.

U.S. decision-makers, rightfully prioritizing the global health emergency, may get the urge to treat this spike in cyberattacks as run-of-the-mill activity surrounding a crisis. Inconvenient, but an unavoidable side-effect of operating in a 21st century ecosystem. However, now is not the time for cyber amnesia.

Experts are predicting permanent shifts in our political and economic structures—actions typically reserved for the aftermath of major international conflict. Discussions about our future institutions need to also address how governments handle clashes in cyberspace.

Attacks on our personal data and critical infrastructure, in a time of worldwide crisis, should be a line in the sand for policymakers. Yet, hackers continue to target government health agencies, hospitals, and distributors of medical equipment as the coronavirus spreads.

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Cindy Martinez

Cindy Martinez

Cindy Martinez has spent her career focusing on cutting edge and complex issues at the forefront of national security. She served 5 years at the Department of Homeland Security where she advised senior leadership on cybersecurity and emerging technology trends. She also negotiated policies and recommended solutions in order to create new Federal initiatives and evaluate the U.S. Government’s effectiveness in areas such as artificial intelligence, offensive cyber operations, vulnerability disclosure, and the national security space domain. She is an analyst with OODA LLC , which publishes and