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Cyber Security in the Age of COVID-19: A Timeline and Analysis of Cyber-Crime and Cyber-Attacks during the Pandemic

Lallie, Harjinder Singh, Shepherd, Lynsay A., Nurse, Jason R. C., Erola, Arnau, Epiphaniou, Gregory, Maple, Carsten, Bellekens, Xavier (2021) Cyber Security in the Age of COVID-19: A Timeline and Analysis of Cyber-Crime and Cyber-Attacks during the Pandemic. Computers & Security, 105 . Article Number 102248. ISSN 0167-4048. (doi:10.1016/j.cose.2021.102248) (KAR id:86976)


The COVID-19 pandemic was a remarkable, unprecedented event which altered the lives of billions of citizens globally resulting in what became commonly referred to as the new-normal in terms of societal norms and the way we live and work. Aside from the extraordinary impact on society and business as a whole, the pandemic generated a set of unique cyber-crime related circumstances which also affected society and business. The increased anxiety caused by the pandemic heightened the likelihood of cyber-attacks succeeding corresponding with an increase in the number and range of cyber-attacks. This paper analyses the COVID-19 pandemic from a cyber-crime perspective and highlights the range of cyber-attacks experienced globally during the pandemic. Cyber-attacks are analysed and considered within the context of key global events to reveal the modus-operandi of cyber-attack campaigns. The analysis shows how following what appeared to be large gaps between the initial outbreak of the pandemic in China and the first COVID-19 related cyber-attack, attacks steadily became much more prevalent to the point that on some days, three or four unique cyber-attacks were being reported. The analysis proceeds to utilise the UK as a case study to demonstrate how cyber-criminals leveraged salient events and governmental announcements to carefully craft and execute cyber-crime campaigns.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.cose.2021.102248
Uncontrolled keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19, cyber security, cyber-attack, cyber-crime, attack timeline, home working
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences
Q Science
Q Science > QA Mathematics (inc Computing science)
T Technology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Computing, Engineering and Mathematical Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: Jason Nurse
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2021 12:57 UTC
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2023 16:47 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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