CYBER CRIME IMPACT ON ECONOMY DURING A PANDEMIC

Apart from the huge health crisis that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing, the economic crisis in these times is also troubling. The United Nations Conference on Trade And Development Agency (UNCTAD) says the slowdown in the global economy caused by the COVID-19 outbreak is most likely to cost the economy sector a minimum of $1 trillion. And the organizations are also taking steps to mitigate the risk by putting travel on hold and allowing workers to operate remotely. But while making these preparations to limit the impact of COVID-19 on their operations, the big conglomerates have ignored other important, even existential, threats to their companies, such as cyber attacks.

Cyber attacks will be one of the greatest risks to businesses over the next decade, outpacing the likes of terrorism, political conflict and degradation of natural habitats. The stakes have never been higher with the revenues, profits and brand reputations of major firms on the road, vital infrastructure exposed and nation-states waging cyber war. In addition, over 56 per cent of those surveyed organizations said they do not have a plan in place to avoid and respond to a cyber-attack.

According to the report, the average cost to of downtime to organizations in 2019 was $762,231, based on interviews with 1,500 IT and business decision makers online. According to 33% of survey respondents, an IT security incident that resulted in device downtime cost them $100,000 to $500,000.[1]

Another report by cyber security firm Trend Micro said there was a rise of nearly 9 million cyber crime cases linked to Covid-19 from January to June. The majority of the attacks occurred in April as users were looking to get more information on coronavirus. Organizations lost an average of nine working hours a week as a result of machine downtime, resulting in decreased productivity. The average interruption to operations was 18 hours. According to the survey, most organizations spent an average of 19 hours from the time an incident was discovered to the time it was remedied. Nearly a quarter of the respondents said that downtime caused by a cyber-attack had affected their brand.

The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic has also been majorly felt in this sphere with the pandemic being a huge contributor to pushing up the levels of cyber crime. It is not just a threat to individuals and organizations, but it also has an impact on a country’s economic situation.

In order to react to the changing nature of the crime, our approach to fight cyber crime must be comprehensive and multidimensional. It is vital to adopt models that strengthen cooperation between countries and institutions in order to combat cyber crime. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so each and every country must cooperate with the other in order to develop a strategy that helps in this fight against cyber crime.


[1] World Economic Forum. 2021. The Global Risks Report 2020. Available at: https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2020.