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Securing Healthcare to Achieve Cyberpeace: A Joint WHO-CyberPeace Institute Moderated Workshop

15 December 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm Free

The World Health Organization and the CyberPeace Institute are joining forces to shed light on the nefarious practices in cyberspace that are endangering human life by documenting their real-life impacts.

The healthcare sector, already under stress due to COVID-19, is facing a multifaceted threat landscape that is diminishing its ability to successfully respond to the pandemic. An onslaught of mis/disinformation, combined with the amplification of conspiracy theories and the delegitimization of science, or an “infodemic”, is being used by malicious actors to erode trust in the healthcare sector, vaccines, and even question the validity of the virus, while an increase in cyberattacks targeting hospitals and other portions of the sector hampers their ability to provide quality care and allocate resources.

Although these two threats differ in their scope and level of impact, with one directly targeting specific targets while the other seeps across an entire society, their combination is undermining the global endeavor to address and stop COVID-19, and in some cases actively contributing to its spread. Together then, this dual threat poses a direct peril to human life. Mis/disinformation has the potential to devalue official information, causing gaps in testing and subverting the effectiveness of immunization campaigns leading to unnecessary deaths as the actions encouraged by the infodemic endanger countries’ ability to stop the pandemic.

Meanwhile, during September 2020 only, we saw the paralysis of 250 hospitals run by Universal Health Services (UHS) in the United States that lasted for over 3 weeks, as well as a ransomware attack on a Duesseldorf University Clinic, that prompted an investigation into “negligent homicide” to probe the link between the tragic death of an at risk patient and the attack. While the healthcare sector has long been at risk of cyberattacks, the harms to human security are heightened during health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and the parallel infodemic. In this acute moment, people around the world are particularly reliant on health services and accurate health information, and increasing societal mistrust of public health leads to greater death and disability. Cyber operations that disrupt healthcare, either directly through attacks on healthcare infrastructure or indirectly by delegitimizing health information, are a direct threat to human security, which is vital to cyberpeace and stopping the global COVID-19 pandemic.


Securing Healthcare to Achieve Cyberpeace 

A Joint WHO-CyberPeace Institute Moderated Workshop 


Date: 15 December 2020

Time: 13:00 – 17:00 CET


13:00 – 13:05 Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Dr Matthew Lim, Unit Head (ad interim), Biosecurity and Health Security Interface, World Health Organization
  •  Stéphane Duguin, Chief Executive Officer, CyberPeace Institute 
13:05 – 13:50 Panel 1: Misinformation, Disinformation, and Infodemic

Exploring the impact of fake news and false information on public health

  • Moderator: Tina Purnat, Technical Officer, Digital Health Technologies, World Health Organization
  • Speakers:
    • Camille Francois, Chief Innovation Officer, Graphika
    • Päivi Tampere, Head of Communications, Hybrid CoE
13:50 – 14:10 Voices from the Field – Surviving the Cyberpocalypse:

  • Steven Long, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hancock Regional Hospital
14:10 – 14:50 Panel 2: Attacking Healthcare Technologies

Discussing attacks that affect healthcare capacity  amid Covid-19

  • Moderator: Adrien Ogee, Chief Operations Officer, CyberPeace Institute
  • Speakers:
    • Dr Saif Abed, Founding Partner & Director of Cybersecurity, The AbedGraham Group
    • Sung Choi, Assistant Professor, University of Central Florida
    • Steven Long, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hancock Hospital
    • Nicole Pelroth, Cybersecurity reporter, New York Times
14:50 – 15:00  Break
15:00 – 15:45 Panel 3: Disinformation, Cyberattacks and Future Threats to Healthcare

How can public health and security cooperate against these threats?

  • Moderator: Dr Matthew Lim, Unit Head (ad interim), Biosecurity and Health Security Interface, World Health Organization
  • Speakers:
    • Jennifer Hunt, Lecturer, National Security College, Australian National University
    • Wilmot James, Senior Research Scholar, Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University
15:45 – 16:30 Panel 4: Preventing Harm

How can States address attacks against healthcare through international law?

  • Moderator: Stéphane Duguin, CEO, CyberPeace Institute
  • Speakers:
    • Kristen Eichensehr, Professor of Law, University of Virginia
    • Duncan Hollis, Professor of Law, Temple University
    • Kubo Mačák, Legal Advisor, ICRC
    • Marko Milanovic, Professor of Public International Law, University of Nottingham
16:30 – 16:40 Closing Remarks 

  • Dr Matthew Lim, Unit Head (ad interim), Biosecurity and Health Security Interface, World Health Organization
  • Stéphane Duguin, Chief Executive Officer, CyberPeace Institute


More information: [email protected]

Watch live: Securing Healthcare to Achieve Cyberpeace


15 December 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:




CyberPeace Institute
World Health Organization