Well, here we are, and by my count, we are now I think the peak of this COVID 19 pandemic. From what I have seen in the headlines, it sounds that things are slowing down, and the more encouraging aspect of all of this is that the governors across all 50 states are now banding together to establish plans to reopen their own states. 

It is great to see this kind of partisanship happening, in my opinion. But on the Cyber front, there is really nothing more that has changed.

It is all pretty much the same thing, WFH, security issues from Zoom, hacking into various Web applications, Cyberattackers launching spoofed websites, Personal Identifiable Information (PII) records being hacked into, you name it. So really nothing too refreshing to cover on those fronts.

But I did come across one particular article which polled a representative sampling of Americans what their greatest fears are at this particular moment in time.

This survey was conducted by a leading market research firm known as Pew Research, and polling was conducted from March 3rd – March 29th. So, here is what they found, on a high level:

*Not surprising at all, almost 98% of the respondents said that their greatest fear was that of another infectious disease, or pandemic breaking out again after the COVID 19 starts to slow down. Interestingly enough, they view this at least as a minor threat.

*Only 79% of the people polled believed that their biggest fear was that of another pandemic which would cause substantial, catastrophic damage to the United States. This is actually about 27% higher than when the Ebola pandemic occurred in Africa, back in 2014.

*But apart from people getting sick, the flip side to this of what worries most Americans is what is happening to the global economy, and the repercussions to it. I would think that this would be a huge fear, given what we are seeing today in the economy here in the United States.

*Many people are also concerned about the meat market situation in China. After all, this is where the whole thing supposedly has started, in Wuhan, China.

*Not surprising either, a majority of Americans (86%) believe that it is very important to cooperate with other countries in combatting COVID 19, while only 97% of them it is slightly important to embrace the help of other countries.

*When this survey was conducted back in 2017, only 37% of the respondents believed that a slowing global economy would be a major threat. Now, in this brand-new polling, it is up to 55%.

*Here are how the respondents have felt on the other issues that they view as a major threat:

               *Terrorism:  80% of the people felt that with cooperation with other countries is a sheer must. This probably stems from 9/11, and the War On Terrorism which ensued shortly thereafter. The   polling was not specific directly on what kind of support this would entail, whether it would be just intelligence sharing, military resources cooperation, or even a combination of both. Included in this is the cooperation that is involved with stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.

               *Only 52% of the Americans surveyed believe that illegal immigration and conflicts with other nations are of a top priority (this is quite a stark challenge from the 2016 Republican Presidential Platform).

*Finally, one of the major highlights of this brand new survey is that Americans are much more concerned as to how we are going to interact with other countries in combatting these other types of threats, rather than viewing them as a threat directly onto them.

My Thoughts On This

Well there you have it, this what keeps Americans up at night. It is of no surprise that COVID 19 is the most prevalent thing right now. And to be honest, it will be for a long time. It will always be on the minds of Americans, and for that matter, the rest of the world’s population. We are now embracing a whole new lifestyle that was never dreamt of before.

But over time, COVID 19 will eventually take somewhat of a backseat, and other issues will start to crop up, such as the ones just described. But in my view, especially as it relates to COVID 19, we need to strike a balance very soon, in terms of the health of our population and the overall economy.

Yes, eventually, there will probably be a vaccine or even more that comes which can protect the populations to some degree or another, and this should quell some of the current fears and angsts right now.

But think long term, and what the ramifications to the United States economy will be down the road. Millions of people have lost jobs, and we simply cannot keep hunkered down like this forever. At some point in time, and much sooner rather than later, we need to start to open up our doors once again. But I am not saying either to flip the switch into the “ON” position just like that.

Rather, we need a phased in approach, whereby America can start to feel comfortable again to where it was before this whole crazy thing started. In my opinion, picking some random date makes no sense, whether it is the end of April or May 15th, as many governors are now planning for. We just need to decide to do it and go with it and see what happens from there.

One thing that I find quite startling is that none of the respondents, as far as I could tell, even mentioned the fears of a Cyberattack per se. This threat will always be out there and will now be much more prevalent than ever before. We are literally seeing the Cyberattacker now take advantage of other venues in which to pounce upon.

One of these is Zoom. It has always been a popular video conferencing tool, but given its notoriety now with working from home, it is now in the cross hairs of the Cyberattacker. Eventually, they will get tired of hitting Zoom, and move onto other platforms, such as WebEx, Skype, etc.

The other area in which the American population needs to be especially cognizant of is that of the authenticity and the legitimacy of the websites that they are visiting.

For example, everything now these days looks so real and authentic, it is even quite difficult for even a seasoned Cyber expert to tell the difference between that and a spoofed site. This is made even worse because the Cyberattacker can now get specially made templates for literally pennies on the dollar from the Dark Web.

Or they can even hire out someone else to do their dirty work.

So, in the end, once the COVID 19 starts to dissipate from the headlines somewhat, not only will companies be scrambling to get back their lost customers, but the next major worry for them will be to convince to them that they are for real, and not just some fictious entity.  Corporate America needs to plan for this, and act now, along with the other things that are going on.

In other words, they should not wake up one day and realize “Hey we should have thought of this before”, just as much as they are realizing now that they wish they had a solid Business Continuity Plan in place.