The digital pandemic: cyber-security in the era of COVID-19

Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash
March 29, 2022
Digital & technology

COVID-19 has presented a huge challenge to governments around the world – but that’s not the only virus worrying civil servants. Since the pandemic began, there’s been an explosion of cyber crime: the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre tackled 15 times more online scams in 2020 than 2019, while global analysts Canalys estimate that more data records were compromised in 2020 than during the previous 15 years put together. What’s more, as Interpol has warned, civil service bodies are right on the frontline: during the pandemic, there’s been a “significant target shift from individuals and small businesses to major corporations, governments and critical infrastructure.” 

In many countries, the ageing legacy systems underpinning public services have long presented a weak point in governments’ cyber defences. Over the last two years, pandemic-related services have created new opportunities for cyber-criminals – including fraudulent government loan applications and medical procurement scams. And with civil servants working from home, some departments’ security protocols and cyber defences are working less effectively. In the face of a rising tide of phishing scams, ransomware, data-harvesting malware, malicious domains and fake apps, senior leaders must ensure that their staff have the right equipment, knowledge and training to avoid becoming the cyber-criminals’ latest victim. 

At this Global Government Forum webinar, senior leaders from the worlds of public sector digital, cyber-security and crime prevention will explain the changing nature of the threat, advise on how civil servants can best protect themselves and their organisations, and answer questions from the live audience. Aimed at digital leaders, service owners and team managers in governments around the globe, the webinar will present both practical guidance, and a discussion of how civil servants can work together to bear down on this fast-expanding threat.

Public servants can register here for free to attend this webinar


USA/Canada Eastern Time (EST): 09:30 – 10:45
British Summer Time (BST): 14:30 – 15:45
Central European Summer Time (CEST): 15:30 – 16:45
Eastern European Summer Time (EEST): 16:30 – 17:45
Singapore Time (SGT): 21:30 – 22:45
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST): 23:30 – 00:45


Webinar chair: Siobhan Benita, former UK senior civil servant

Siobhan Benita was a senior civil servant with over 15 years’ Whitehall experience. She worked in many of the major delivery departments, including Transport, Environment, Health and Local Government. She also had senior roles at the heart of Government in the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, including supporting the then Cabinet Secretary, Lord O’Donnell to lead work on Civil Service reform and strategy. Siobhan left the Civil Service to run as an independent candidate in the Mayor of London election. She subsequently joined her alma mater, Warwick University as Chief Strategy Officer of Warwick in London and Co-Director of the Warwick Policy Lab.