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Is a cyber pandemic looming over our heads?

The modern world is prone to disasters, pandemics and environmental catastrophes. And the next mishap staring us in the face is a cyber pandemic. Security researchers have predicted that a “Cyber Pearl Harbor” or “Cyber 9/11” is inevitable.

The year 2020 is proving to be quite a hassle and the adversities don't seem to be slowing down. COVID-19 has already created atypical conditions of living with complete lock-downs and travel restrictions. We would like to think that after COVID-19, when the vaccine will come everything would return to normal and things would go back to the way they were. It's a comforting thought but quite far from the truth.


It seems that COVID like incidents would become the new normal, the world is not as invincible as we thought. The modern world is prone to disasters, pandemics, and environmental catastrophes. And the next mishap staring us in the face is a cyber pandemic. Security researchers have predicted that a “Cyber Pearl Harbor” or “Cyber 9/11” is inevitable. These assumptions disappeared with time due to lack of evidence but in the wake of COVID-19 doubts like these are resurfacing.

The Check Point CEO warns “that the new reality created by the coronavirus pandemic will cause threats in the cybersecurity field to rise, and that countries need to protect themselves against the coming ‘cyber pandemic.’ “What happened in the last three months pushed forward five, maybe even 10 years of technological evolution,” he says. “More services moved online; companies removed barriers. We allowed developers to work just from within the company physically, so we could keep our intellectual property.  In one day, we had to change all of that and allow people to access from home. This rapid change means hackers will find a way. The hackers can find a way to hack a personal computer of an employee and through them get into our Crown Jewels.”

Though the World Economic Forum gives a ray of sunshine saying that this corona pandemic has thought us how to fight off and prepare for the "inevitable global cyberattack". A good thing out of this pandemic is that it teaches us about cybersecurity and the measure of the impact a massive attack would have to better prepare ourselves for this sort of assault.

 The World Economic Forum states three lessons-
  •  Speed of the attack

They predict that a cyberattack would spread exponentially faster than any biological virus. The RO (reproductive rate ) of COVID-19 is two to three whereas the 2003 Slammer/Sapphire worm (fastest worm) doubled every 8.5 seconds.

  • The Economic Impact 

World Economic Forum says that the digital economic shutdown will put a similar dent, which may be greater to the economy as the one currently. The only way to prevent the spread of the digital virus would be to shut down systems and machines to break the chain and one day without internet would cost the World a loss of 1 billion dollars.

  •   Recovery 

The recovery would no doubt be challenging in both measures - to replace the infected devices and damage recovery.

But there are learning to be taken from COVID-19 that these sorts of attacks can happen and to be better prepared for them. Effective communication, coordination among private and public sectors, and a substitute for digital work will go a long way to battle the upcoming cyber pandemic.
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