The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on cyber vulnerabilities within our country. As nationwide shutdowns were implemented to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees shifted to remote work and operations went fully digital. Businesses, organizations and governments have faced cybersecurity challenges as a result.
Cyber threats have long been a challenge for many businesses and organizations – even prior to the start of the pandemic; but with operations becoming much more digitalized over the past several months, vulnerabilities have been exposed. Hackers and cybercriminals have taken advantage of some of these vulnerabilities. State and local governments and healthcare organizations, for example, have seen an increase in cyber threats during the pandemic. Individuals have been targeted as well. Just last week, 130 high-profile politicians, business leaders and influencers were targeted by hackers on Twitter, once again raising alarm over the state of our nation’s cybersecurity ahead of the November election. While this is the latest high-profile hack in the U.S., cybersecurity threats have been growing over the past several months. In April, The FBI’s s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) announced that the rise in cybercrime reports had nearly quadrupled since the start of the pandemic. Earlier this month, the FBI announced there has been a rise in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims using stolen identities.
Many businesses and industries have already been focused on maximizing their cybersecurity efforts. The utilities industry is an example of an industry that has been addressing cyber vulnerabilities while the industry continues to modernize, and their infrastructure becomes digitalized.
As we reflect on the learnings of the pandemic, the importance of cybersecurity should be one of them. There must be a renewed focus on cybersecurity to ensure our businesses, organizations and governments are best prepared to address and prevent cyber threats and attacks. This will require a collaborative effort – bringing together business and organization leaders, government officials and cybersecurity experts, to develop solid cyber defense programs that will prevent and address cyber threats.
–Gloria Story Dittus, Chairman, Story Partners