The Impact of Covid-19 on Data Privacy, Security & Protection

Who thought that a viral outbreak from a city in China could end up as a global pandemic and shut down the entire world? Yes, we’re talking about Coronavirus, or Covid-19, to be exact. It might not be as lethal as the other global pandemics like category 2 Flu (1968) or HIV (peak 2005-2012) have been in the past but still, it manages to do significant damage to human lives as well as the economy. The complete lockdown of markets and institutes has forced economies to switch their working practices if they want to survive. As of Jul-2022, the world is still suffering the after-shocks of the lockdown.

To minimize the overall effect, every institute, organization, and even country has decided to utilize the best of the technology. This technology utilizes a vast amount of information generated and communicated by every stakeholder of the system. 

The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP):

The lockdown has promoted new working culture like remote work, contactless payment, online shopping, etc. all of these are utilizing the information of users. To regulate the increasing volume of information being fed into the world of the internet. The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) introduced the e-Privacy Regulations in 2018. Parallel to that, companies and institutions have also increased the awareness of their data and started adopting the new set of regulations

Although these regulations were not designed specifically to regulate the new culture raised during the lockdown. But still, it was made flexible and extended enough to maximize the security and data protection of personal data without compromising general public health.

Data Privacy Concerns and their Solutions:

Even after the lockdown, where the whole world has opened. The culture of remote working, online shopping, contactless payments, etc. seems to be persistent for a long time. There are several advantages of all these like low workforces, automation, low costs, etc. But all of these also possess some serious privacy concerns regarding the users’ information and Data. Let’s take a look at some of the major data privacy threats:

  • Contactless Payment Frauds

The Contactless Payment system was popularized during the covid-19 period as it prevents the spread of coronavirus in routine merchant payments. It utilizes Near Field Communication (NFC) or RFID technology. The issue with this technology is that it is not that much of secure as the older method where biometric and/or password protection layered the transaction. The cards or tags could be scanned and the information on them could be copied, altered, or deleted without the consent of the owner. This could lead to great financial losses.

This could be minimized by utilizing secure card procedures such as encryption, etc., and contactless biometric scannings like retina scans or facial recognitions. The AI could also be enrolled for further verification like user’s geolocation according to transaction or spending habits etc.

  • Fake Accounts

Now, this is a multi-level threat. It ranges from a fake individual account to a fake business one or even worse, a fake authority account. It is very difficult to distinguish between the real ones and the fake ones. Although their main purpose is to pull out the maximum information possible, they can also be used to misguide, spread fake news, and initiate chaos (like in 2012).

People tend to trust brands or authorities and they blindly believe that they won’t do anything fishy with them but in the end, it turns out to be a mockup set by the scammers or a hacker using the original account of someone (Twitter, high-profile account hack 2020), but it’s already too late.

The best possible solution is to use Artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor all the activities on social media. Unlike the method of checking/removing/blocking upon the request/report of the users, the AI can automatically sense the threat and prevent it before it can impact even a single entity. Using ai to find suspicious activity is the way to go.

  • Remote Jobs

Lockdowns due to the coronavirus forced most businesses to adopt the work-from-home culture. Some jobs were flexible and easy, while others were very difficult to manage. For example, an IT manager who looks after the servers and databases has to access them and work on them from home. It might seem simple, but in actuality, it is much more vulnerable as home networks are not that much of secure as private corporate networks, and also the machines, i.e. home desktops, routers, etc. are easy to penetrate and hack. Moreover, a fake remote request made by hackers can compromise the whole system and its data. For institutes like banks, financial services, etc, this could be a complete knockoff to the business as well as users.

This could be prevented by introducing automation to the systems. Most of the tasks like taking routine backups, request approvals, data handling, etc. can be done without human interference with the help of automation. With automation, the objective becomes simple; let the system do most of the work by itself.

  • Malware/Phishing Emails

While more and more businesses are switching to online services, email traffic has increased drastically in users’ inboxes. Almost all businesses use email confirmations, requests, and marketing to pitch their product/services to new/old customers. This led to a boost in email malware and scams. The average new users are the general victim of these scams. They hand over sensitive information about them easily and then suffer for a long time.

The more advanced picture of this issue is malware emails in which the attacker installs some specific programs on the users with just a click on the attachment. These malware programs silently run in the background and then either grant backdoor access to the device directly to the hacker or encrypt all the data on the device and the user then has to pay for decryption (ransomware attack).

The best counter to this issue is to use only trusted sites, brands, companies, and most of all trusted email services. A strong antivirus should be there on each device. Also, the aforementioned entities should conduct awareness programs for general users periodically on all these scams and frauds

Conclusion:

The coronavirus has indirectly raised several threats to users’ data privacy. Every institute and government is developing new regulations and strategies to eliminate or at least minimize the threats to general users’ data. The best possible solution is to upgrade current systems and practices with the latest technology, i.e. AI, automation, cybersecurity, etc.

Author

  • Faizan Siddiqui

    Faizan joined the team as an SEO Manager and works closely with the marketing team. His expertise lies in digital marketing and SEO. He finds new ways to improve the user experience of a product. His rule of thumb is to make sure the user satisfaction and make user-friendly content by using his SEO skills.

    View all posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top