Malta joins an international alliance led by Interpol to enhance Cyber Security during COVID-19

In response to the rapid changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cyber Security Malta and The Malta Police Force are joining a global alliance led by the International Criminal Police (Interpol) to create awareness about cyber safety with a campaign called #WashYourCyberHands.

The alliance is formed by global law enforcement and cyber security communities to protect the public.
Harnessing the expertise of this alliance, the awareness campaign will help communities to keep safe from cyber criminals who are exploiting COVID-19 to steal data, commit online fraud or simply disrupt the virtual world.

The campaign will be highlighting the top threats based on the data collected from various countries, private industry partners, national cyber security agencies and online information-sharing groups. Analysis of this data has confirmed that cyber criminals are capitalizing on the anxiety caused by COVID-19 through various cyber attacks such as data-harvesting, malware, ransomware, online scams and phishing. This data will be adapted for the local scenario and made relevant for Malta and Gozo.

Basic cyber hygiene advice – how to ‘wash your cyber hands’ – will be provided on a daily basis campaign to ensure that individuals and businesses are equipped with the knowledge of how to protect their systems and data.

Craig Jones, INTERPOL’s Director of Cybercrime, said police and the cyber security industry have seen a considerable increase in the number of targeted cyber attacks by criminals since the virus outbreak began. These range from malicious web domains using the word ‘covid’ to phishing emails promising the sale of key supplies as well as ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure and hospitals.

Clayton Bartolo, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy, said that we are spending much of our personal and professional lives online. The Government is investing a lot to keep everyone safe, not only from a health perspective, but also for a digital point of view.

Tony Sultana, MITA Executive Chairman, said that during these challenging times Malta is joining the rest of the world to create awareness and fight cyber crime. We are taking a pro-active approach on different levels. For example, we are addressing cyber security issues for people working from home, along with prevention tips for companies.

Efrem Borg, Head of Information Security at MITA, highlighted the work that MITA has been doing to safeguard the Government IT infrastructure so that the public is given the best service possible, including health care.

Timothy Zammit, Inspector within The Malta Police Cyber Crime Unit, said that the aim behind these campaigns goes beyond disseminating information to prevent crimes in the short term. As society adapts itself to new realities, we want to see users become more aware of the risks involved so that they can interact safely online with more confidence. This new reality is here to stay!