Many employees around the world, especially those working from home, have undertaken some form of cybersecurity training in the past 12 months. The global threat to organisations is only growing and news of hacks is becoming more commonplace.

During these unprecedented times, the emerging focus of the threat is now squarely on the most critical part of our social and economic response to COVID-19 – the healthcare and medical sector.

In the past week, organisations which have helped to build new hospitals in the UK, at the heart of the battle against the virus, have had to contend with attacks on another front. Healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and scientific research bodies which hold valuable information on patients and the progress of the vaccine/antibody tests are the new targets for malicious state and private actors.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) have issued a joint advisory regarding the new and sustained cyber threat from hackers towards healthcare organisations. For many, this is a new spotlight they may not have dealt with before.

A pivotal part of the virus response is the contact tracing app which the UK government and NHS hope to roll out imminently. Fixing bugs will be one issue but making sure location and civilian data is safe will be a completely different challenge. Privacy and security will be high on the list of concerns while the app goes through its developmental stage and ensuring false alerts do not override the system will be vital to the response.

The recent cyberattacks on hospital construction companies symbolise a yearning for chaos by a small group of people in a period of already seismic disruption. The importance of not letting the guard down when facing a foe on another front cannot be underestimated, as it is a critical period in the battle to suppress COVID-19 for the longer term.

Protective shields and support for these organisations come in the form of guidance by bodies such as the aforementioned UK and US cybersecurity agencies but also from proactive steps from the insurance industry.

Cyber insurers now have an opportunity to cater to the specific needs of these organisations to promote security best practices, an understanding of how costly the risks of data theft can be and investigative tools as part of their package to ensure the most vital elements of our COVID-19 response are not compromised.

Time will tell how effective our response will be to the pandemic but ensuring our most critical assets are protected will only help to set the foundation.

Cyber security is not the only issue insurers need to be aware of. Learn more about other factors that are affecting the life insurance market with Axco.