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Coronavirus: Cyberattacks increase in China

As China struggles to contain the coronavirus, the last thing the country needs is to deal with cyberattacks.

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Image: Getty

The coronavirus that originated from Wuhan in China has rapidly spread throughout the world and has now affected over 33 countries and territories. In China alone, there have been over 77,000 new cases with over 2,000 deaths, and the numbers continue to rise. Even though China has its hands full with the coronavirus threat, there has been another imminent threat in China – the increase of cyberattacks.

Recently, Chinese tech giant 360 Security Technology has captured a slew of advanced persistent threats (APT) launched by Indian hackers. These hackers have been using the novel coronavirus to lure potential targets in China, and are trying to steal sensitive data. There’s so much that hackers can do with compromised data, and hence it’s important for China to resolve this issue as soon as possible at this critical period.

Why have cyberattacks increased?

Technology has started to take off in recent years, and gathering sensitive data is an extremely lucrative business. Depending on the data gathered, businesses could be paying these hackers hundreds and thousands of dollars. Why do businesses pay so much money? Simply because organizational costs of a data breach could cost far more. In ASEAN for example, a data breach could cost an average of US$2.62 million – especially if these are large companies.

In the case of China, however, these attackers seem to be more focused on Chinese medical organizations. With China going through such a trying period, these hackers are capitalizing on this period by figuring out loopholes and attempting to gather data through phishing schemes.

What could happen?

online shopping and hackers

Image: Unsplash

While these attacks are mainly directed at computing systems to obtain sensitive medical data, sensitive information is also stolen from people that are directed to visit the website that carries this virus. This comes during a difficult period for China, and these APT attacks need to be brought under control or China would face disastrous consequences. Advanced technology related to the medical world could also be stolen and maliciously used.

More fear related to the virus could also result in serious disturbances to the social order. To help in keeping the coronavirus under control, the Chinese government had implemented a range of technologies to watch its citizens from CCTV cameras to social media monitoring and more. What this means, is that there’s plenty of information about its citizens, and if such information falls into the wrong hands, it could be weaponized and used against its own people. Sinister consequences could arise, and throw China into further chaos.

What’s next?

China is reaching out to India to help with these cyberattacks. Since these hacks seem to be a phishing scheme that originated from India, China is asking for India to help with countering these cyberattacks as they work on managing the coronavirus issue.

If this data falls into the wrong hands, it’s likely that these hackers might hold the data hostage in exchange for money. This could result in businesses having to freeze systems, and there’s a chance that these data or systems may not even be released back into the business.

Individuals with personal information stolen could also risk hackers gaining access to financial accounts, credit card details, passwords and more. Hence, China is racing to get this issue fixed by asking for cooperation from India. Even though these hackers may be targeting Chinese medical organizations, any leaking of data could impact not just China, but also the rest of the world.

Final thoughts

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Image: coronavirus.app

As China struggles to contain the coronavirus, the last thing the country needs is to deal with cyberattacks. Hence, it’s imperative that China strengthens its cybersecurity and helps to prevent attacks or mitigate breaches with the appropriate tips, tools, and tactics.

Businesses have also been jumping on the cybersecurity bandwagon by implementing tailored cybersecurity solutions to their businesses in a bid to prevent their data from being compromised.

Lastly, there’s no better time to ensure that the cybersecurity put in place has coverage that is both ongoing and up to date. Whether it’s getting a security professional to take a closer look at the business, or outsourcing the business security, having proper cybersecurity would mean avoiding the costly consequences that could come from cyberattacks or a data breach.

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