Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic Crisis on Cyber Security

By: Sonny Zulhuda

COVID-19 Cybersecurity Threats: Protecting Your Business

This post is about a keynote I delivered in an International Webinar organized by Faculty of Law, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surabaya. The Webinar went well, attended by a crowd of around 100 Zoomizens (yes, it was on Zoom application).

Even though the theme of this international web seminar was the implications of Covid-19 pandemic crisis over cyber security, other speakers did speak about a wide array of legal topics including the implication on employment law, emergency law, criminal law as well as public international law.

In my presentation, I first highlighted the development of the pandemic in Malaysia including the legal basis of Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia.

Next, I observed and assessed the ensuing implications including Policy Implications; Social Implication; and Cyber Security Implication

The social implication includes the following:

  • Lesser people on the road and the flocking of people in the cyberspace makes it more attractive hunting ground for cybercriminals.
  • More online shopping and online selling, so a better chance to hide their illegitimate and fraudulent transactions by picking popular items such as face masks, sanitizers, vaccines, etc.
  • More activities on social media makes it a perfect platform for launching phishing attacks.
  • Making use of emotions and curiosity on what is going on, easy to entice attention: e.g. infection data, patients’ personalities, donation drive.

The policy concerns that emerge are:

  • Transparency vs secrecy
  • Surveillance vs privacy
  • New report vs misinformation/fake news
  • Lockdown: Bringing the fierce world to the sacred home

UM Surabaya Webinar 290420

Cyber Security challenges include those for Individual Users such as the risk of data exploitation due to over-surveillance. Also the fact that phishing emails or links are mushrooming within social media pose another potentially lethal attack to computer security. Also, the risk of data breaches due to non-secure apps (online payment, online shopping, online meeting, etc) is apparently emerging too.

The cybersecurity risks for organizational level come from the use of the official network, emails, and documents from home which in turn exposes the risk of breach of confidential information and trade secrets. Employees may use non-secure and non-compliant apps or gadgets for their work at home, in which there is poor/low security support system provided for them.

As for the national security challenges, governments need to be mindful that excessive surveillance may trigger citizens’ opposition due to concern over privacy. Risk of breach of official secrets due to the WFH (eg. Due to online meeting at home, Computers being shared by others, etc) is another challenge to be tackled well.

I must thank the Dean of Law Faculty of UM Surabaya Dr. Asri Wijayanti, SH, MH, for inviting me to deliver a keynote. My thanks also go to the Rector Prof. Dr. dr. Sukadiono, MM for his leadership at this great university.

For everyone benefit, my presentation material can be downloaded: HERE.

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