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How to Manage a Cyber-Attack from a Communications Perspective


How to Manage a Cyber-Attack from a Communications Perspective

New guide aims to provide organizations with insights on how to manage a communications crisis when under a cyber-attack in a region especially at threat.

Following the MENA Information Security Conference held in Riyadh on October 5 and 6, independent marketing communications consultancy and the event’s communications partner W7Worldwide, along with organizer VirtuPort, have released a crisis communications guide to help companies prepare for increased risk of Covid-19 cyber-attacks.

The guide comes on the heels of a report by Trend Micro Inc showing a significant rise in cyber-attacks on GCC. No less than 3,067 email, URL, and file threats related to the Covid-19 coronavirus were recorded in Q1 2020, and “The UAE led all GCC countries with 1,541 COVID-19 attacks, including 775 malware threats detected, 621 email spam attacks, and 145 URL attacks. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recorded 344 COVID-19 attacks, including 268 email spam attacks, 59 malware threats detected, and 17 URL attacks,” the report indicates.

According to research by Market Research Engine, “The GCC region has become the center point for cyber-attacks because of the region’s strategic and economic significance. In the GCC region, government, education, and BFSI industries are the most targeted verticals by cyber-attackers.”

This is why “Organizations 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 [a] 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,” explained Samir Omar, CEO of VirtuPort, in a release, adding that “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 organizations can deploy as part of their cyber resilience planning.”

In that context, the “7 Steps to Crisis Communications under a Cyberattack” Guide developed by W7Worldwide aims to provide organizations with a timely tool for companies to tackle the communications challenges of a cyberattack, from reviewing current crisis communications plans to simulation practice, employee threat education program, controlling the narrative when under pressure and how to move on undamaged from an attack.

“A cyber-attack 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, in the release. “Managing the current increased cyber-risk is crucial and means continually assessing your organization’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,” he added.

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