Cybercrime is not new. It existed before the Covid-19 pandemic, and will continue to exist after it. However, some experts fear that the next pandemic might be the most dangerous, and that it may resemble the tsunami following the earthquake. Only this time, it will be digital.
Experts argue that Covid-19 imposed a great deal of technical exposure while the technical procedures remained relatively lenient. Non-urgent side effects of technical openness were overlooked in order to focus on defeating the greater enemy.The fierceness of the battle against coronavirus, and its existential nature, necessitated the mobilisation of all tools and weapons to sustain life, while sacrificing some of the caution that was practised in the technological field before. New systems and programmes were introduced to facilitate remote working, and multiple virtual channels that access data stores inside organisations were opened.
The computers that were previously confined to offices are now deployed in homes out of sight. At the same time, millions of students and teachers are linked through distance learning systems. Digital shopping is flourishing, e-commerce websites and platforms are increasing, and the demand for digital services is growing.
All of this has increased the exposure to technological tools. This may facilitate hackers and cybercriminals to strike, leading to a global digital pandemic.I do not intend to scare you, but unfortunately, there is nothing that indicates the opposite of such a probability. The temptations for digital criminals are many. Studies indicated that in 2018, the value of cybercrime amounted to $1.5 trillion. That means that if it were a country, it would be ranked 13th globally in terms of GDP.
The first quarter of 2019 alone witnessed data hacking of 770 million people. Less than a month later, the number of victims explodedto more than two billion, and before the middle of the year, the number of digital records that were hacked reached about four billion.
As for 2020, there is no doubt that it will be marked in history and the minds of people as the year of coronavirus. However, we must do everything in our power to avoid it being named as the year of the cyber pandemic as well.After months of confronting Covid-19, the world seems to be returning to normalcy as it has relatively regained control of the situation. While the pandemic taught us close cooperation to fight it, its potential effects require greater cooperation. Functioning like an isolated island or behind closed doors was never and will never be an option at all.
The recent pandemic has proven that the world is a small village, and what happens on one end of the globe quickly casts a shadow on the other side. When the danger occurs, its transmission speed will be measured not in kilometres per hour, but in megabytes per second.
Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori is the Director General, TRA اقرأ أكثر: حكومة الامارات الذكية »
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