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CyberPeace Lab – COVID-19 Infodemic: How to Protect the Health Sector from Cyberattacks

16 April 2020 - 17 April 2020

 A summary of the highlights of this CyberPeace Lab can be found here

Just as the outbreak of COVID-19 has evolved into a global pandemic, cyber operations that leverage the crisis are on the rise. Malicious actors are exploiting the information overload (i.e. infodemic) as well as the remote working regulations that have accompanied the pandemic. This rapid increase and diversification of COVID-19 themed cyber operations have challenged victims’ and responders’ capacities to defend and respond against them.

As the crisis worsens, malicious actors are targeting institutions and industries across all sectors. This creates a critical risk to industries which are already under stress, such as the healthcare sector and the larger healthcare supply chain. In response to the pandemic there have been three emerging trends, comparable to wartime-like efforts, in the health care supply chain that may increase the risk profile. First, providers of crucial medical supplies and technology have drastically upscaled. Second, non-health industries have begun to produce health care products, for example, the automobile industry producing ventilators. Third, innovation is being devised by crowdsourcing collective intelligence, such as, Hackathons that look into 3D printed solutions. All of this is great; however, it creates an increase in the cybersecurity risk profile of the supply chain.

Various attacks against the health sector and its wider supply chain have already been documented, including attacks against the infrastructure of emergency responders, hospitals, and other medical facilities. By targeting systems and hardware, these attacks not only threaten to interfere with the ability of healthcare workers and first responders to save lives but also undermine the public trust in these critical entities. While the response by public and private CERTs have been local, attacks are global, raising questions on methods of leveraging combined knowledge to facilitate accountability.

To discuss this challenge, the CyberPeace Institute will publish another CyberPeace Lab as part of its series “Infodemic: A Threat to Cyberpeace.”

This CyberPeace Lab aims to investigate how threat actors are exploiting the COVID-19 Infodemic and to identify challenges to document and analyse these mounting cyber operations. It will focus on attacks against the healthcare sector, its wider supply chain, and infrastructure of emergency responders, as well as upscaled initiatives to stem the pandemic. It discusses existing partnerships and/or frameworks for identifying malicious actors conducting such attacks that may in fact cost human lives.

Moderator: Stéphane Duguin, CEO of the CyberPeace Institute.


  • Anastasiya Kazakova, Public Affairs Manager at Kaspersky;
  • John Todd, Executive Director of Quad9 at Global Cyber Alliance (GCA);
  • Serge Droz, Chair of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST).

Watch: CyberPeace Lab – COVID-19 Infodemic: How to Protect the Health Sector from Cyberattacks

16 April 2020 - 17 April 2020
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