COVID-19 and Cybersecurity Threats and Challenges


To determine the increase of cybersecurity risks/breaches on a global scale, before and during COVID-19, with the aim of tracking the changes and demonstrating the growing risk and also determine industry verticals that are at risk.

Early Findings

  • In recent years, cases of cyber attacks have been increasing. In 2018 specifically, there was a “350% increase in ransomware attacks, a 250% increase in spoofing or business email compromise (BEC) attacks and a 70% increase in spear-phishing attacks in companies overall”.
  • In the US, 61% of firms suffered a cyber attack in 2018, compared to 41% the year prior. “The median cost for losses associated with cyber incidents shot up from $229,000 to $369,000.”
  • Industry sources reveal that cyber attacks are on the increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. Memoori researchers found that cybercriminals are targeting all manner of organizations, including WHO, healthcare companies, and charitable organizations.
  • The researchers found that attacks on WHO doubled since the outbreak of the corona virus. One case was that of cybercriminals attempting to set up a malicious site mimicking the WHO’s internal email system.
  • Many reliable industry sources suggest that the healthcare industry and humanitarian organizations have been the most targeted during the COVID 19 pandemic. A COVID vaccine center and Paris Hospital suffered a hack in March.
  • Trends indicate a significant increase in cyber-attacks in hospitals.
  • According to research expert Elad Shapira, “one of the reasons for this increased risk to the supply chain and the healthcare sector is a rise in the number of people who are now working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • According to Digital shadows, the most affected industry verticals include healthcare, financial services, Medical suppliers and manufacturing, and Government and media outlets.

Summary of Early Findings

  • During the initial research, we found a some insights into the impact of the increase in cyber attacke before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The requested information seems to be available. However, due to time restrictions, we could not provide more information.
  • The research team will, therefore, need more hours of research to develop a comprehensive report and fulfill the requirements.
  • Please proceed to choose one or more of the proposed next steps in the scoping section below.

Proposed next steps:

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