This year has not only changed how we live, work and play amid a global pandemic, but 2020 has also created a threat landscape no one could have possibly predicted. Against a backdrop of global hacks on airlines, travel websites and banking institutions, we hosted an online panel with experienced journalists, senior comms pros and a CISO, to debate the impact of the COVID-19 on security.

Here’s what we learnt and how different regions around the world are responding. Watch the discussion in full here.

Data regulation must respond to new types of breaches

Visibility has become a huge security challenge for organisations thanks to increased home working. As a result, no one really understands the regulatory landscape under these circumstances.

In the coming months, we’re bound to read about hacks and breaches that haven’t yet been identified, but an important question remains unanswered. If these have happened as a result of home working, how will regulators respond?

In Germany, Maisberger explains how everyone is focused on the ‘new normal’, but there’s an awareness this could rapidly change again. The pandemic has accelerated the move to digital, resulting in security stories being top of the news agenda, and creating an opportunity for companies to educate everyone on common risks.

Reporting on misinformation campaigns must be clear

The evolution and spread of misinformation online against the backdrop of both a global pandemic and impending US political election has been interesting to witness. How both governments and media communicate responsibly on the origins of campaigns needs very careful consideration.

The British media are still learning how to share insights in a helpful way. Key for 2020 will be contextualising stories responsibly and explaining the ramifications of such activity clearly.

The onus isn’t only on comms professionals either, as the US has seen with The Hill and several other publications reporting an increase in reports to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Brands2Life US describes how journalists who usually cover fintech or areas not exclusive to cybersecurity, such as this Reuters contact, are expanding their beat. In the case of healthcare, for example, journalists want to know what health institutions and patient care facilities are now doing.

Hackers are swotting up on homeworking  

As swathes of companies switched to a homeworking model, a new playground for cybercriminals emerged. But hackers haven’t flocked there. Yet. No huge stories on remote working practices gone drastically wrong have emerged, but hackers have been busy researching VPNs and remote desktop protocol, so expect more to come here.

Red Ribbon Communications in South Africa share that this remains a hot topic, with media interested in stories on attacks on web-conferencing platforms and phishing, as well as current cybersecurity culture in organisations and how it must improve. Advice and articles outlining the lessons learned are currently very popular and the agency expects this to continue throughout 2020.

Yes, media has hit a COVID-fatigue wall

As predicted, media are tiring of the COVID-19 dominated news cycle. Stories that had been parked since the start of 2020 are beginning to be explored again. But don’t expect a rapid shift in pace. Yes, a level of COVID-fatigue exists, but there is a continued need to cover the crisis as it evolves, so expect to simply see a shift in tone and language.

What is of interest, is what is going to happen and what the impact of going back to school, the office and life as we knew it will be.

Stay tuned.