As COVID-19 spreads quickly, so does the threat of cybercrime. Hackers are taking advantage of the current uncertainty to send out even more phishing messages than usual, with varying degrees of sophistication.
The sector which is most crucial to containing the spread of COVID-19 – healthcare – is perhaps also the most vulnerable to ransomware attack.

Security experts are increasingly concerned about cybercrime because it currently benefits from favourable external conditions: a massive and uncoordinated shift to working from home offices in both public and private sectors, nationwide lockdowns which require increasing use of electronic transactions, and a rush for basic necessities, which fractures any semblance of ‘civil’ society. In the long run, economic recession will likely trigger tectonic changes in how young people sustain themselves. An increased reliance on criminality, both online and offline, is to be expected, particularly in regions where youth unemployment was already high.

Cybercrime: Threats during the Covid-19 pandemic

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Author

Prem Mahadevan

Before joining the GI, Prem Mahadevan worked for almost nine years as a Senior Researcher with the Center for Security Studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. He specialized in research on organized crime, intelligence and irregular warfare. He has lectured on international relations courses at universities in Austria and the Czech Republic, and been invited to brief parliamentarians and high ranking security officials from across Europe and Asia, besides NATO and the Global Counterterrorism Forum. He has co-authored policy studies for the Swiss foreign ministry and written a book on counterterrorist special operations for the Indian Army. His academic publications include two books on the theme ‘intelligence and terrorism’, besides several peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters in edited volumes.

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