Cyber security expert warns UK of hackers exploiting coronavirus panic

23 April 2020, 16:14

By Seán Hickey

Amid news of a new track and trace app to be rolled out to combat coronavirus, this security expert warned of criminals exploiting coronavirus online.

Sir Rob Wainwright is a senior cyber partner at Deloitte and was once a director at Europol. He joined Shelagh to speak about the heightened dangers of online activity during the pandemic, as hackers take coronavirus as an opportunity to exploit the vulnerable.

Shelagh was speaking about the new track and trace app and insisted that it is a great idea if "used in the right way" but added that she assumes that "criminals would be quite keen to make use of that as well".

"Criminals have wasted little time to exploit the Covid crisis" Sir Rob pointed out. He insisted that online crime will always peak during a crisis, putting to Shelagh that it is "part of the way in which criminals operate".

The cyber security expert added that the new NHS track and trace app will be "high on their minds" and hackers will be gearing up to exploit it. Sir Rob assured that there are "data security and cyber security concerns" with the app and there will definitely be measures taken to ensure the app is secure.

Cyber security expert warns UK of hackers exploiting coronavirus panic
Cyber security expert warns UK of hackers exploiting coronavirus panic. Picture: PA

Shelagh wanted to know how the UK "should we be thinking of coronavirus in terms of security" as we prepare for hackers to exploit people's vulnerabilities.

Sir Rob Wainwright insisted there are a lot of similarities between cyber security and measures taken to protect people's health. "In both areas we're talking about viruses" he began. The expert told Shelagh that hygiene is talked about a lot in cyber security in terms of the awareness of the public.

When it comes to combatting cyber crime during this time, Sir Rob noted that the "key is around having access to good reliable information" on how to detect and prevent a hack.

While in physical terms the UK is trying to protect most vulnerable parts of society during this time, the former Europol director stated that cyber security is similar where there is a need to protect the most vulnerable parts of your computer network.

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