As the world reels from the COVID-19 global pandemic, the virtual world is also susceptible to cyberattacks during the time of crisis. In fact, cybersecurity researchers over at Kaspersky have previously discovered that malicious parties have taken advantage of the current situation with a host of scams and malware attacks on unsuspecting parties.
Cybersecurity is particularly important when you consider that medical facilities and organisations such as hospitals are also vulnerable. Kaspersky, for their part, offered some of ther enterprise-grade cybersecurity products to medical institutions for free (6 months) to combat this.
But is it enough?
A call to all governments to “work together”
An open letter, organised by the CyberPeace Institute in Geneva, has been signed by various prominent figures on the global stage—including Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky, former senior government officials, and Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The letter is directed to governments around the world, calling for “immediate and decisive” action to prevent cyberattacks on medical institutions.
The letter, dated on the 26th of May 2020, reveals that attacks in the cyber sphere have been targeting frontlining organisations who have been at war with the coronavirus pandemic. These very attacks have had a disruptive, impairing effect on various critical medical services in a time when the world needs them more than ever.
“These actions have endangered human lives by impairing the ability of these critical institutions to function, slowing down the distribution of essential supplies and information, and disrupting the delivery of care to patients. With hundreds of thousands of people already perished and millions infected around the world, medical care is more important than ever.”
The letter continues to say that these attacks shouldn’t be allowed to happen, regardless of the times we find ourselves in. Accordingly, governments should stand together to prevent these cyberattacks from happening. The signatories are calling for governments to work with experts from the private sector to ensure that these attacks—especially those on medical institutions—are prevented.
“Above all, governments should take action and stop cyberattacks on hospitals and medical facilities. The time to act is now.”
What do the experts say?
Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of global cybersecurity company Kaspersky, remarked that the company has been monitoring the exploitation of the COVID-19 situation in recent times. Kaspersky goes on to say that attackers have been using the various social and medical concerns of the public to leverage malicious cyberattacks.
In fact, the CEO says that the gravity of these cyberattacks cannot be overstated:
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen many cyberattacks on hospitals and health institutions in many countries, and we consider them to be terrorist attacks. As long as the coronavirus continues to cause serious social concerns, attackers will continue to use it for their own purposes.”
Having already offered some of their products to these medical organisations, Kaspersky calls on governments and relevant organisations around the world to work together to overcome these attacks—describing them as “terribly damaging” and “often life-threatening”.
The full letter is available in multiple languages, with an open, full list of signatories. You can view the full details here.