With the Arab states of the Persian Gulf - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates becoming a centre point for cyberattacks because of its strategic and economic significance. Government, education, and banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) industries have become the most targeted verticals by cyber attackers.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have recorded 3,067 email, URL, and file threats related to the Covid-19 coronavirus in Q1 2020. Global organisations have seen a 148% spike in ransomware attacks, with the finance and healthcare industry most heavily targeted.
“Organisations need to consider how their new business models and remote working in response to Covid-19 may have increased the risk of a cyberattack. Cyber security is evolving from cyber resistance to cyber resilience, with focus on taking preventative measures against the increased risks and addressing them proactively to limit any potential financial and reputational losses from a potential attack.” explains Samir Omar, CEO of VirtuPort.
“Not only can a cyberattack affect critical business functions, but it also brings the added external pressure of attention from the media, the public, customers, and regulators. Therefore we worked with our communications partners W7Worldwide to provide a crisis communications tool companies and organisations can deploy as part of their cyber resilience planning.”
W7Worldwide employed its deep expertise, given the severity of the topic, to develop ‘7 Steps to Crisis Communications under a Cyberattack’ Guide has been produced as a timely tool for companies to tackle the communications challenges of a cyberattack.
It advises organisations to take key steps in preparation and during an incident, from reviewing current crisis communications plans, to simulation practice, employee threat education programme, controlling the narrative when under pressure and how to move on undamaged from an attack. (Click Here to Read Full Report).
“A cyberattack itself does not need to destroy your corporate reputation; it is how you prepare for and handle such a crisis that will determine lasting trust in your brand. Consumers, investors, partners, employees, and shareholders are holding organizations much more accountable for their actions.” said Abdulrahman Inayat, Co-Founder of W7Worldwide.
Dealing with a cyberattack on top of the Covid-19 crisis is a major challenge for any organisation to cope with and requires careful coordination between the incident response team and a range of internal and external stakeholders. Organisations should develop their crisis communications plan as a pre-emptive measure now and as part of their broader cyber resilience planning with clear messaging and lines of communication to enable sound decision-making during the high-pressure environment surrounding a cyberattack.
“Managing the current increased cyber risk is crucial and means continually assessing your organisation’s cyber resilience. As part of that it is vital to mitigate the impact on brand reputation with a solid crisis communications plan in place and a proactive communications approach.” Inayat added.
A 7-step crisis communications guide to help companies and organisations protect their reputation amid the ongoing cyberattack challenges of COVID-19:
1. Review Crisis Communications Plan
2. Crisis Simulation Practice
3. Control the Narrative
4. Monitor Social Media
5. Nominate Key Spokesperson
6. Target Your Messaging
7. Moving on and preventing future attacks