Online Safety and Security during COVID-​19

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to expand, organizations are reporting adramatic increase in cyberattacksand cybercrimesall over the world.Individuals are facing online threats and harms from increasedfraud, phishing, and extortion whilst ransomware attackshavecompromisedmission critical systems, such as governments, companies,media facilities,and even theUnited Nations, including theWorld Health Organization (WHO). There is also a large spike of reconnaissance activity and intrusions into someofmajor institutions, especially those who have identified themselves as working on COVID research labsand hospitals. Amongst the heightened vulnerability to ever-present online harms, home-based work and schooling has alsoincreased the potential cybercrime victim-pool and online child abuse investigators have already seen a large rise in offences.While much of thiscan be attributed to people’s daily activities increasingly moving online, it is also because newly remote workers, educators, and students are unaware of basic security measures. Existing vulnerability of women and children to online harassments and potential abuse has also been heightened by the increased digitization of activity. In addition, organizationsare facing seriouschallenges to keep externally -accessed system secure and safe, while making it accessible for their employees to continue to work remotely on their duties.Whilst the picture is challenging, there are lights in the darkness. Law enforcers are steppingup investigation;policy makers are advancing regulation;tech companies are thwartingbad players;and civil society are enhancing capacity building. What more, though, can we do?How can we accelerate our efforts?How can the United Nations add real value to the work of government -and that of the private sector –tostrengthen online safety and foster cybersecurity cultureduring COVID19 and beyond?This webinar is thefourth in the “Digital Cooperation during COVID19 and beyond” series. We willdiscuss specific challenges that the world isfacing during the COVID19 crisis and strategies which have been deployed to ensure safer and secure access to digital service,as well as helping younger generations to be protected by potential online threats.The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is astrategic partner of this webinar.

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