While the healthcare sector has long been at risk from cyberattacks, the harms to human security are heightened during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, when people across the world are particularly reliant on health services. Cyber operations that disrupt healthcare services are a direct threat to human security, which is vital to cyberpeace. Recent events show an emerging trend: cyber operations increasingly put human lives in jeopardy.
Many states, private sector and civil society organizations have reaffirmed their view that international law applies in cyberspace. Existing laws offer strong protection for the health sector and medical facilities against cyber operations, but the effectiveness of this protection may be limited by a number of grey areas, such as differing definitions of key terms and concepts or contrasting application in different contexts.