Editorial: Darkest Before the Dawn (Q1 2021 Issue)

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This year begins in much the same way that the last played out, but with one significant difference.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the lives of people all around the globe. Any hopes of welcoming a New Year that would allow us to swiftly move on to better times were soon dashed in January with announcements of new, stricter lockdowns and restrictions as the virus continued to spread exponentially via a new, more contagious variant – once again threatening to push the healthcare sector to its breaking point.

It was anything but the start of the year that we had hoped for. However, the darkest hour always comes before the dawn, and in 2021, the UK – along with various other countries – now has something it did not for almost all of the previous year; approved and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Those vaccines hold the key to defeating the virus, saving lives and ultimately returning to some form of normality.

For that reason, and taking the impact of COVID-19 into consideration, the vaccines are surely the most pressingly precious things the modern global community has ever had, and their protection is paramount.

Ensuring the security and legitimacy of the COVID-19 vaccines is paramount
Ensuring the security and legitimacy of the COVID-19 vaccines is paramount

For years, our sector has rightly emphasized the vital importance of ensuring security in areas such as the cloud, IoT, critical national infrastructure and democratic practices. Now, it must drive the same focus (if not more) into the security of global vaccination efforts.

That’s because, as outlined in the cover feature of the Q1 2021 print issue of Infosecurity, for all the much-needed promise the vaccines offer, there are various ways in which they can be targeted for malicious purposes. Their manufacturing in laboratories and physical distribution rely on complex, sophisticated processes. Those processes and their various moving parts serve as attractive lures to cyber-criminals and nation states seeking to slow, manipulate or stop them for financial or political gain. At the same time, money and data-grabbing scams and fake news threaten to undermine the legitimacy of the vaccines at the expense of the public.

After the world-leading scientific achievements that have made the vaccines possible, such criminal acts cannot be allowed to prosper, and through a combination of advanced technology, clear education and multi-sector collaboration, the goal of protecting the vaccines from lab to jab simply has to be achieved if we are to finally see a new dawn arise out of the darkness. Read the full article to learn everything you need to know about this hugely important topic.

Infosecurity’s next Online Summit will be taking place March 23 and 24
Infosecurity’s next Online Summit will be taking place March 23 and 24

Additionally, this issue delivers a number of features on a range of other issues, from assessing the economic health of the cybersecurity industry and addressing how the modern internet can be made more secure to highlighting the scourge of online trolling in the sector and lifting the lid on the growth of dangerous multi-extortion ransomware attacks. On top of that, you can get to know some of the leading names in our industry a little better by reading about the life and career of super blogger and profile interviewee Javvad Malik and taking in a snapshot of the undertakings of Talya Parker and Paul Watts – both of whom make significant contributions to the sector.

Looking ahead to the coming months, it’s clear that the socially-distanced nature of life we have become accustomed to will have to continue for at least the foreseeable future as mass vaccine efforts continue to be rolled-out. That means, of course, the ongoing inability to learn, share and network at the many physical events and exhibitions our industry is synonymous with.

There’s no denying this is a huge loss to the sector (we’d normally be in the midst of the always terrific RSA Conference season right now) and the sooner in-person events can return, the better. Nonetheless, Infosecurity remains dedicated to bringing our global readers the very best content and insight, and we are delighted to be delivering our next Online Summit on March 23 and 24. The two-day virtual event will comprise of 14 sessions including panel discussions and presentations featuring a raft of experts and thought-leaders. Registration is now open via our website and we hope to see you there!

Lastly, I’d like to wish all our readers the very best for the first few months of 2021 and to encourage the security industry to continue its endeavors in the same determined, collaborative and empathetic spirit it has since the start of the health crisis. It’s my sincere hope that, by the next time I address you in an Infosecurity print issue, things are beginning to look much brighter.

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