ABSTRACT:
Monitoring the cybersecurity landscape and the increase of COVID-19 related cybercrimes reporting by cyber experts and law enforcement agencies worldwide, the ECHO network of cybersecurity centres has joined forces to establish its COVID-19 Cyber Defence Alliance. Its aim is to support all initiatives that aim at protecting the EU member states, key services and critical infrastructure from cyber attacks.

By developing innovative ideas, hands-on guidance and solutions to tackle the COVID-19 cybersecurity threats, it will contribute to increase cybersecurity for the EU, the member states, its companies and citizens. This white paper on the COVID-19 hacker’s mind-set is a first outcome of this combined effort. On 6 April 2020, ECHO experts from 15 member states discussed together in two teams the COVID-19 hackers mind-set. The main conclusion is that this pandemic offers cyber attackers unique opportunities to leverage existing attack tactics, techniques and procedures to exploit new opportunities created by a massive increase of employees working from home, children using home computers for schooling, as well as the human factor and emotions caused by the pandemic. Regardless of the motives behind a hack (profit or societal disruption), there are now ample opportunities and methods to leverage the COVID-19 pandemic to engage in criminal cyber activities. This white paper gives an overview of a number of these; however, the list is not exhaustive and constantly evolving. It is important to act now, in order to pre-empt short, medium and long term damage to our digital society and infrastructure. Basic COVID-19 specific cyber awareness messages for the general public, easy to understand and share, should be disseminated on a daily basis. Similarly, specific information for companies and sectors should be made available through early warning information sharing networks, in order to ensure that they also take appropriate measures to protect themselves and our economy against cybercrime. The diverse, pan European cyber security ECHO network will continue to develop innovative ideas, hands-on guidance and solutions to tackle the COVID-19 cybersecurity threats.

Read the white paper: Cybersecurity & COVID-19